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Conceptualising security: cosmopolitan, state, multilateral & market dynamics

Dorn, Nicholas 2008. Conceptualising security: cosmopolitan, state, multilateral & market dynamics. Den Hague: Boom Juridische uitgevers. Available at:

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How can we understand international and local 'security' today and what are the prospects for its transformation? The present international arrangements - a patchwork of the national security policies of states, private security services contracted to public and private customers at home and abroad, and multilateral institutions such as the United Nations - are in ferment. There is not only partnership but also pursuit of specific and sometimes competing security interests. This paper asks, could 'cosmopolitanism' offer a more inclusive agenda? Looking for empirical evidence, this perspective is found to have been significant in some historical instances, such as environmental security; intelligence analysis in support of sanctions against apartheid; and campaigning to set up the International Criminal Court. Less encouragement arises from experiences of international interventions in conflict situations, for example the experience of DutchBat at Srebrenica; from NGOs' participation in post-conflict capacity-building, for example in anti-corruption narratives that backfire by undermining democracy; and from consideration of the possibility that truth and reconciliation tribunals, although inclusive, may be interpreted as giving 'permission' for criminality. It is critically concluded that, whilst cosmopolitanism may sometimes be able to ameliorate situations when it acts as a 'ginger group' to more powerful security actors (state, private, multilateral), it is prone to error and unintended consequences in the rare cases in which it attains ascendancy. [Publication of full text is by kind permission of the publisher.]

Item Type: Monograph (Other)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Additional Information: Erasmus Law Lectures, 16, November 2008
Publisher: Boom Juridische uitgevers
ISBN: 978-90-8974-028-1
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2016 22:28

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