Search for Human Security

The Shifting Paradigms

By Narottam Gaan

At the heart of the debate over the evolving nature of security is a familiar, albeit mercurial, entity: "the state." The revisionists, in their rejection of the well-defined Ptolemaic order of the Cold War, in which security revolved around the state, have sought to shift the focus of attention to the borderless realm of humanity and its fragile habitat. Dismissing attempts to change the referent object of security as heretical, or even dangerous, the keepers of the faith maintain that, in a world still dominated by the force of arms, the locus of security remains, and must remain, the state. With the accelerated globalization of the world economy, advances - in communications and transport, environmental concerns, demographic trends, etc. - are viewed as undermining the state's "traditional" capabilities and authority as never before. In conceding that some of the state's capabilities have been undermined, its adherents contend that no more effective form of political organization has yet been found to replace it. Despite myriad challenges, the state remains the primary actor on the world stage. It is further maintained that in a world made smaller, and in some ways more homogeneous - by the relentless advance of technology - the state (especially the "nation-state") provides the most effective means of expressing a particular people's sense of identity and uniqueness, satisfying what Benedict Anderson has evocatively referred to as its "metaphysical yearnings." What was once a cottage industry in redefining security rapidly assumed the characteristics of a mature and booming enterprise, impinging on this book to demonstrate how the ultimate security of the individual is the primary focus of the state.


538 pages

Publication Date: 10/25/2009
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9788184050486