Research Methods in Critical Security Studies : An Introduction book cover
2nd Edition

Research Methods in Critical Security Studies
An Introduction

  • Available for pre-order on April 4, 2023. Item will ship after April 25, 2023
ISBN 9780367621131
April 25, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
344 Pages

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Book Description

This textbook surveys new and emergent methods for doing research in critical security studies, filling a gap in the literature. The 2nd edition has been revised and updated.

This textbook is a practical guide to research design in this increasingly established field. Arguing for a serious attention to questions of research design and method, the book develops accessible scholarly overviews of key methods used across critical security studies, such as ethnography, discourse analysis, materiality and corporeal methods. It draws on prominent examples of each method’s objects of analysis, relevant data, and forms of data collection. The book’s defining feature is the collection of diverse accounts of research design from scholars working within each method, each of which is a clear and honest recounting of a specific project’s design and development. This second edition is extensively revised and expanded. Its 33 contributors reflect the sheer diversity of critical security studies today, representing various career stages, scholarly interests, and identities. This book is systematic in its approach to research design but keeps a reflexive and pluralist approach to the question of methods and how they can be used. The second edition has a new forward-looking conclusion examining future research trends and challenges for the field.

This book will be essential reading for upper-level students and researchers in the field of critical security studies, and of much interest to students in International Relations and across the social sciences.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  PART I: RESEARCH DESIGN  2. Research Design  3. Wondering as Research Attitude  4. Do You Have What It Takes? Accounting for Emotional and Material Capacities  5. Attuning to 'Mess': Not Presuming to Know Sanctuary  6. Engaging Collaborative Writing Critically  7. Accessing the ‘Field' of Terrorism Studies  PART II: ETHNOGRAPHY  8. Ethnography  9. Travelling with Ethnography  10. Reflexive Inquiry  11. Listening to Migrant Stories: Considerations on Voice  12. Learning by Feeling: Emotional Intelligence and Fieldwork  13. Doing Sensitive Research: Fieldwork Ethics and Methodologies  14. 'China is the Safest Country in the World!’: Translation, Travel, and the Problem of Fit’  15. Methods that Mirror Migration: Ethics and Entanglement En Route  16. Researching Security Decisions at the Border (or Serendipity and Secret Places)  17. ‘Dangerous' Fieldwork  PART III: PRACTICES  18. Practices  19. The Practice of Writing  20. Researching Anti-Deportation: Socialization as Method  21. Expertise in the Aviation Security Field  22. Mapping Urban Security Practices  23. Following Turkish Border Practices  PART IV: DISCOURSE  24. Discourse  25. Archives  26. Legislative Practices  27. Problems, Tools, and Creativity: A Pragmatist Approach to Emotion and Security  28. Keeping Secrets: Freedom of Information Requests and Critical Security Studies  29. Understanding Discourses of Arctic In/Security  PART V: CORPOREAL  30. The Corporeal  31. Theorizing the Body in IR  32. Reading the Maternal Body as Political Event  33. Sonic Encounters in Critical Security Studies: Reflections from Ethnographic Fieldwork in Morocco  34. Thinking Like a Microbe  PART VI: MATERIALITY  35. Materiality  36. Infrastructure  37. The F-35  38. Complicating Risk, Home and the Field: Security Research in Spaces of Control  39. Unlearning Research Methods: Stories of Attunement and Failure  40. Security Technologies and Criticality  41. Materiality and the Production of Objects  PART VII: CONCLUSION  42. Emerging Trends

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Mark B. Salter is a Professor in the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada. He is the author/editor of 8 books, including Making Things International 1 and 2 (2015 and 2016). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Security Dialogue.

Can E. Mutlu is an Associate Professor of Global Politics at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS, Canada. His research interests include borders, migration, technology, and security. He is the co-editor of Architectures of Security: Design, Control, Mobility (with Benjamin J. Muller).

Philippe M. Frowd is an Associate Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada. His research focuses on the governance of irregular migration and border control in the Sahel region of West Africa. He is the author of Security at the Borders (2018).


‘Questions of method have become increasing pertinent to the pedagogies and research practices of critical security studies. Research Methods in Critical Security Studies (2nd edition) makes a timely contribution by providing a range of answers to these questions. In doing so, RMCSS strikes a judicious balance that will appeal to seasoned researchers looking to adopt new approaches as well as students who may be embarking upon their first substantive research project in the field. While richly informed by cutting edge conceptual, methodological, and theoretical literature, the discussions are practical, precise, and plain-spoken—they cut straight to the chase in order to equip the reader with capabilities to do reflexive research in critical security studies and navigate common challenges found within and across methods. With new chapters and updated materials, the 2nd edition captures recent developments within the field while maintaining the accessibility and pragmatism that were hallmarks of the first edition. As such, the 2nd edition is an excellent teaching and research resource for everyone in the field.’

Kyle Grayson, Newcastle University, UK

'This volume shows how doing critical and reflexive research can go hand-in-hand with rigorous methodology. The book is indispensable to researchers in critical security studies broadly defined, from graduate student to project leader. It is filled with useful practical examples and fascinating case studies. I have used it in my thesis seminar for years, and it is great that we now have an updated and expanded second edition, that combines attention to state-of-the-art theory with clear advice on practical means and modes of doing research.'

Marieke de Goede, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

'If 'methods' are off-the-shelf tools that can be casually picked up and deployed, then this is not a methods book. It is instead an invitation to critical inquiry, and a rich tapestry of examples showing how attitudes of reflexivity and a healthy skepticism about received concepts and categories are in no way incompatible with clear and sustained attention to questions of research design. This is a rich feast for critical researchers to devour.'

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, American University, USA