Theories of Security

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Author: Ali Abdullah-Khani

Date of publication: 2010
Pages: 502
Language: Persian
Publisher: Tehran International Studies & Research Institute (TISRI)
ISBN: 978-964-526-134-2

Book Description

Tehran International Studies & Research Institute (TISRI) started a plan in 2000 to publish a series of books on security issues in order to introduce interested officials, experts and researchers to security studies. The project also aimed to provide preliminary literature for the formulation of national security doctrines and strategies in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The book is an effort to provide appropriate and relatively overarching literature on theories, systems and models of security. For this purpose, the book has been divided in four sections with 23 chapters focusing on “security studies, security theories, security systems, and security models.”

Every one of the chapters included in the first section of the book reflects the viewpoints and assessments of certain security theorists on various components of a security theory. Within this framework, realistic security studies, liberalistic security studies, the Third World security school, and Copenhagen School have been considered en bloc as positivist and traditional approaches to security. Although Copenhagen School was the pioneer of a movement for changing traditional security approaches and despite the fact that the Third World security school considers security issues from a different viewpoint by focusing on security issues in the Third World, and reaches certain conclusions which are at odds with the fundaments of traditional security studies, the general spirit governing those schools is positivist and traditional.

Post-positivist approaches discussed in the first section of the book include security studies by post-constructivist thinkers as well as critical and feministic studies. Such approaches and schools of thought have their own specific existentialistic, methodological, and epistemological dimensions which are different from traditional and positivist schools and approaches as they totally fall within framework of security studies. At the same time, positivist schools and approaches also play their part in strategic studies.

Security studies carried out by constructivist thinkers constitute another chapter of the first section which is wedged between positivist and post-positivist security studies. This approach offers remarkable conclusions about security issues and makes a great effort to fill the gap between two main poles of security studies.

The second section, which is about “security theories,” consists of five chapters, including regional security complex theory, theory of securitization, offense – defense theory, strategic culture approach, and the idea of common security.

These five sections have paid due attention to the main existing theories in the area of security issues. Regional security complex theory which is influenced by Copenhagen School tries, by putting the main emphasis on security environment at regional level, to provide a suitable system for the analysis of security issues. The theory of securitization focuses on the security process and de-securitization of different issues and phenomena while elucidating achievements and failures of this process. Offense – defense theory mostly concentrates on the most important security phenomenon which is “war” and tries to increase the ability of analysts to explain and predict it. The strategic culture approach is a quasi-theory falling within the realm of constructivist security studies, which endeavors to present analytical abilities regarding epistemology of security in a way different from traditional approaches. At last, the main goal of the idea of common security is to find a suitable solution to establish a link among various security topics and issues related to big powers.

The third section of the book consists of four chapters including security systems of balance of powers, security regimes, hegemonic security and security community. The fourth section also consists of five chapters in which the most important applied models of security including non-invasive defense models, collective security, cooperative security, deterrence, and cooperation on regional security are discussed.

In this regard, four security systems have high capacity to provide a general and logical framework for various kinds of applied models of security which have been used by countries or groups of countries in contemporary world to deal with security matters. The system of balance of powers is an overarching system based on realistic security studies with its roots in the Copenhagen School, which claims to still having good capacity to manage security issues in the contemporary world. This system can be considered the oldest type of security system in the modern world. Meanwhile, the system of security regimes is mostly influenced by approaches which consider the possibility or necessity of cooperation in the current world inevitable. The hegemonic security system belongs to the world of ideological powers. However, in terms of supporting theories, it shares similar roots with balance of powers security system as both of them are influenced by realistic security studies. The security community system, which seems to be more compatible with Islamic ideas, is the newest of security systems which is built on creating solidarity among countries on the basis of a combination of common interests and values of various societies. It is more influenced by constructivist security studies.

The security models introduced in the fourth section of the book mostly include those models which have been already adopted by individual countries or groups of countries for the management of security affairs at national, regional or international levels. Within this framework, the deterrence model has been among the oldest applied models of security which is mostly exercised within framework of balance of powers system. The cooperative security model is an applied model used within a system of security community which has been designed to render that system more pragmatic. The participation model which has been offered for the establishment of regional security is a new model. Its main goal is to pave the way for the introduction of the aforesaid system of regime as well as institutionalism of security to those areas and groups which are less compatible with such systems. This model aims to take advantage of the principle of cooperation and collaboration among countries in order to help management of security matters at regional level.

About the Author

Ali Abdullah-Khani received his Ph.D. from National Defense University (Tehran) in Political Science. He teaches political science in different Iranian universities and is the Chairman of Tehran International Studies & Research Institute (TISRI). He wrote numerous books and articles on national security, international affairs and middle east affairs.

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