This book aims to engage with contemporary security discourses from a critical perspective. It argues that rather than being a radical, analytical outlook, much critical security theory fails to fulfil its promise to pose a challenge to contemporary power relations.
In general, 'critical security' theories and dialogues are understood to be progressive theoretical frameworks that offer a trenchant evaluation and analysis of contemporary international and national security policy. Tara McCormack investigates the limitations of contemporary critical and emancipatory theorising and its relationship with contemporary power structures. Beginning with a theoretical critique and moving into a case study of the critical approaches to the break up of the former Yugoslavia, this book assesses the policies adopted by the international community at the time to show that much contemporary critical security theory and discourse in fact mirrors shifts in post-Cold War international and national security policy. Far from challenging international power inequalities and offering an emancipatory framework, contemporary critical security theory inadvertently ends up serving as a theoretical justification for an unequal international order.
This book will be of much interest to students of critical security studies, international relations and security studies.
Tara McCormack is Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester and has a PhD in International Relations from the University of Westminster.
Preface 1. Introduction 2. The Problem of Idealism: Critical and Emancipatory Security Theory in Context 3. ‘Theory is always for someone and for some purpose’: The Theoretical Limits of Critical and Emancipatory Theory 4. Critical Approaches to the Yugoslav Break-up and Wars 5. Domestic Exclusions: Citizenship and the State 6. International Exclusions: Re-Considering International Policy 7. Power and Agency in the Post-Pluralist Security Framework 8. Conclusion: The Political Limits to Critical and Emancipatory Approaches to Security and Conflict