Mainstreaming Human Security in the New Security Landscape: the discursive struggle for "freedom from fear" and "freedom from want"

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen; Lunds universitet/Master of Science in Global Studies; Lunds universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: After the failure to respond adequately to the changing patterns of conflict and violence after the end of the Cold War, human security was popularized in the 1990s as an alternative concept to security more suitable to face threats to individual security. Ever since, the question about what human security should entail has seen much discussion. This paper examines the different discourses which influence human security as ”freedom from fear” and ”freedom from want”. It situates the concept in what can be understood as the new security landscape, and examines how the different understandings of human security have influenced policy at the level of the United Nations. Performing an analysis based in the theoretical foundation of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s discourse theory, this paper presents how human security is the target of a discursive struggle, as different discourses seek to hegemonize the concept. The paper goes on to analyze at a discursive level the hegemonization of human security within the UN, and concludes by presenting several reasons to why human security has increasingly been seen as a preventive approach.

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