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Human and Global Security

Human and Global Security: An Exploration of Terms

Peter Stoett
Copyright Date: 1999
https://doi.org/10.3138/9781442675919
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442675919
  • Book Info
    Human and Global Security
    Book Description:

    Discusses four principal security threats ? state violence, environmental degradation, population displacement, and globalization ? and shows that any meaningful interpretation must include both a narrow legal definition and a broader global perspective.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7591-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. 1 Terminology and Security in World Politics
    (pp. 3-28)

    The above quote is deceptive, for there are fewdefiniteconcepts in life, and even fewer in the study of political science. This book proceeds under the weight of that fact and is based on two essential premises.

    First, words matter, yet most words have many meanings. Defining words is a fundamental act, for us as individuals and as members of collectives. When definitions are constructed in a closed and limited fashion, alternative thinking can be stifled and orthodoxy can be reinforced. By the same token, the act of exploring the definitions of words is a robust pedagogical process, capable...

  5. 2 State Violence: Genocide
    (pp. 29-50)

    We begin our terminological exploration with what is arguably the most painful concept of all. Unfortunately, it may also be one of the most reflective: future historians seeking an accurate theme for this fast-closing century might suitably adopt ′the age of genocide.′ Despite unprecedented advances in communications, the rise of economic interdependence, and a half-century of the United Nations, we can still reflect on an era in which mass murder has been a frequently exercised state policy. The list of victims seems endless: Armenians, Ukrainians, Jews, Gypsies, East Timorans, Biafrans, Cambodians, Kurds, Bosnian Muslims, Tutsis, and Hutus. And these are...

  6. 3 Environmental Degradation: Ecocide
    (pp. 51-72)

    Our next term for investigation has maximalist and minimalist understandings as well, and though it is a less popular term than genocide, it is just as ominous. Criticisms of the American operations in the Vietnam war ushered the termecocideinto the lexicon of social science. In the context of American strategies in Indochina, which included defoliant (or, rather euphemistically, ′leaf abscission′) and land-clearing programs designed to expose enemy cover, the term ecocide clearly referred to the destruction of ecological systems by deliberate force.² It was employed as a critical device as well as an analytic concept by a community...

  7. 4 Population Displacement: Refugees
    (pp. 73-96)

    This chapter opens with a stubborn normative statement: Human security is a moot concept if it doesn′t apply to everyone, including those who have fallen outside the realm of traditionally recognized political collectivities.

    The previous two chapters explored concepts that describe human suffering and, as often, movement. War, genocide, starvation, ecocide, environmental degradation: all of these elements conspire to force millions of people to leave their homelands each year and the international community, despite the intense efforts of the UN (a financially constrained and largely reactive body) and several nongovernmental organizations, finds it a struggle to deal with this phenomenon....

  8. 5 Globalization
    (pp. 97-118)

    I′ve made a habit of beginning each chapter with a standard dictionary definition of the term under discussion. I will have to make an exception here because, even thoughglobalizationis clearly one of the most overused words in international politics today, it has yet to become part of accepted vocabulary. In the beginning of Chapter 1, I noted that – as in the past – the study of world politics today revolves around a stable of core concepts. I suggested further that while some of these are ephemera, reflecting fads of the day, others are seemingly perennial. Anarchy, diplomacy,...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 119-122)

    In the belief that a major part of understanding is in the act of definition, this book has explored the meaning of several terms that are representative of severe threats to human and global security in the post-Cold War era. Unfortunately, these terms will remain with us into the next century, and we (as citizens, academics, policymakers, and others) will struggle to respond to them. In order to do so we need to explore the conceptual implications of contrasting interpretations of meaning, and this book has attempted to provide such a background discussion.

    In each case we contrasted a minimalist...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 123-148)
  11. Selected Readings
    (pp. 149-162)
  12. Index
    (pp. 163-168)