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Title: What is the value of security? Contextualising the negative/positive debate
Authors: Nyman, Jonna
First Published: 3-Jun-2016
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP) for British International Studies Association
Citation: Review of International Studies, 2016, 42(5) pp. 821-839
Abstract: Review of International Studies has seen a debate over the value of security. At its heart this is a debate over ethics: about the extent to which security is a ‘good’ and whether or not security politics produces the kind of world we want. More recent contributions focus on the extent to which security is ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. However, this paper argues that the existing debate is limited and confused: key authors use the terms ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ in different and at times contradictory ways. The paper clarifies the roots of the existing debate, and then moves on to clear up the confusion by drawing out two different uses of the terms positive and negative: an analytic frame and a normative frame. In response, it proposes a pragmatist frame that synthesises the existing uses, drawing on pragmatism and practice-centred approaches to analyse the value of security in context. The contribution of the paper is thus twofold: it both clarifies the existing debate and suggests a solution. This is key because the debate over the value of security is crucial to thinking about how we want to live.
DOI Link: 10.1017/S0260210516000140
ISSN: 0260-2105
eISSN: 1469-9044
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2016, Cambridge University Press (CUP). Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. The version associated with this record is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License ( ), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Politics and International Relations

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