What can cooperation in the Black Sea Region teach us about Securitization Theory
Abstract: As a relatively new theoretical framework, Securitization Theory has been criticized for its descriptive, rather than explanatory, nature, lack of unified methodology and its limited transferability. By using the Black Sea Region as an empirical example, I offer a new perspective on the merits of Securitization Theory–namely that it should be seen as a step towards an integrated multidisciplinary approach that allows for a dialogue between different theoretical schools. I use discourse analysis to look at data from the main geopolitical players in the region–NATO, the EU, Turkey and Russia, and investigate which are the topics that they’re most concerned with and aren’t willing to make any concessions. Consequently, these aspects of cross-border relations are the ones that are presented as a threat to the security interests and goals of the actors and lead to the deterioration of trust and cooperation. My findings can also contribute to the literature that deals with understanding the process of securitization itself and how past securitization moves affect the current status quo. Single isolated incidents do not, by themselves, give rise to geopolitical contention and must be discerned from other, more persistent threats. This essay also demonstrates that securitization provides the necessary flexibility in dealing with the analytical consequences of the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, namely the desire of Great Powers to avoid military conflicts with other Great Powers and the shift to non-materialistic aspects of inter-state contention like cultural superiority and intensifying societal divisions.
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