Political Science Answer Writing Practice - Week 4 - Question 3
90 Days Political Science Answer Writing Practice Question 1 for 27-Dec-2017
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27-Dec-2017 - Question 1
Critically access the changing nature of the concept of national security. 2014 (250)
Security is taken to be about the pursuit of freedom from threat and the ability of states and societies to maintain their independent identity and their functional integrity against forces of change, which they see as hostile. The bottom line of security is survival, but it also reasonably includes a substantial range of concerns about the conditions of existence. Quite where this range of concerns ceases to merit the urgency of the security label (which identifies threats as significant enough to warrant emergency action and exceptional measures including the use of force) and becomes part of everyday uncertainties of life is one of the difficulties of the concept.
The question of security has long since preoccupied the minds of International Relationists. The traditional concept of security with the state as the main referent has been up for extensive debate. The realist view of security where it is seen as a derivative of power reduces the complex concept of security to a mere synonym for power . This view could be considered relevant during the period of the World Wars, where states seemed to be in a constant struggle for power.
However, in the post-Cold War era, the concept of Security has become much more multifaceted and complex. In his book, People, States and Fear, Barry Buzan points out that the concept of security was too narrowly founded , his goal was to, therefore, offer a broader framework of security incorporating concepts that were not previously considered to be part of the security puzzle such as regional security, or the societal and environmental sectors of security. Buzan s approach is more holistic; and while he primes his analysis with neorealist beliefs such as anarchy, the depth of his analysis is constructivist in that he does not accept the given, but rather explores each element of what he considers to be the security package one by one in order to arrive at a more informed conclusion.
Buzan s approach is an interesting one as he looks at security from all angles going from micro to macro, also addressing the social aspects of security and how people or societies construct or securitize threats. Buzan is somewhat of an independent thinker and a reformer. This allowed him to broaden the analysis that existed and give his audience a more complete understanding of the complexities of security with the ability to then apply these concepts to current issues, for example, the war on terrorism. This constructivist approach allows to not only discover Buzan s reading of security, but also the breakdown of every aspect that contributes to or affects security, from the individual and society to the main referent, which, for Buzan is the state.
Along similar lines to that of addressing the levels essential to understanding security, Buzan also addresses the different sectors of security. In his article New Patterns of Global Security in the Twenty-First Century , Buzan analyses how five sectors of security (Political, Military, Economic, Societal, and Environmental) might affect the periphery based on changes in the center .
The national security problem turns out to be a systemic security problem in which individuals, states and the system all play a part, and in which economic, societal and environmental factors are as important as political and military ones. From this integrative perspective, the levels and sectors appear more useful as viewing platforms from which one can observe the problem from different angles, than as self-contained areas for policy or analysis.