The Copenhagen School of security studies is a school of academic thought with its origins in . Criticism[edit]. Bill McSweeney, ‘Identity and security: Buzan and the Copenhagen school’, Review of International Studies, () 2 This is given brief expression (in Wæver (); and Buzan et al. security recognised as important within the Copenhagen School literature so as to . immigrants and asylum-seekers as threatening the sovereignty and identity of. Security and identity are two concepts that are deeply intertwined on many The Copenhagen School process of securitising a threat to identity will then be Buzan has developed a five-dimensional approach to societal.

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Security and identity are two concepts that deeply intertwined on many different levels, and secuirty be separated. Not all scholars would agree with this point of view, however. The dominant neo-realist paradigm ignores the role of identity in security; this approach will be analysed first, and largely dismissed.

The Copenhagen School process of securitising a threat to identity will then be critically analysed, before looking at the various ways identities can be defended or secured from said threats. The essay will conclude that security and identity produce each securigy, and cannot be separated.

Neorealism dominated late twentieth century International Relations. One of the key theoretical assumptions of neorealism is that all states are unitary.

According to neorealists, the relationship between identity and security is minimal for this reason. However, this identity-security relationship is deeply flawed on many levels. Momentarily leaving aside the misguided state-centricism of neorealism, the idea that interests are objective is also false. One actor may obviously prioritise certain issues above another on the basis of their identity. For example, France appears to be significantly more interested in regime change in Libya than the Maldives is, which contrastingly prioritises reversing the effects of climate change.

Their interests, and by extension ixentity and actions, are entirely different. The increasingly popular field of social constructivism attempts to answer this question. Identity does not exist objectively; rather, it is intersubjectively constructed, as are all other social facts.


These identities are complex, and can be constructed over significant periods of time. However, this is a fundamental misreading of social constructivism.

Buzan has developed a five-dimensional approach to societal security [12]and threats to identity can come from each of these spheres. They include military identity threats e. Hutu extermination of Tutsis in Rwanda in ; political e. He also looks at horizontal competition, where influence from a neighbouring identity threatens another identity, and vertical competition, where institutions like seccurity EU, which widen and homogenise identity.

Identity and security are inseparable here — neorealism fails to take into account the role of identity in creating interests and, by extension, securitising actions. Military responses are self-explanatory, and involve buzah society defending its threatened identity through the use of force.

Hamas copenhagn their military wing the Al-Qassam Brigades use such military methods to defend Palestinian identity [15]. However, military responses are often impossible for some identity groups, due to insufficient resources to mount a successful military challenge, or perhaps because the threat to the identity is non-military. Identity and security are thus ccopenhagen reinforcing. Another significant branch of non-military response to securitised identity threats involve ethno-political nationalism.

This involves a society, usually within a pre-existing state, although possibly transcending state borders, whose identity is buzsn to be threatened to the point that secession must be attained for survival. Somaliland, a now semi-autonomous region copenhaben Somalia, provides an example of this.

The former President Siad Barre committed massacres against the Somaliland people in [18]leading to the securitisation of such a threat by regional leaders, and finally a drive for independence.

Somaliland identity has evolved from Somali national identity, and while the region lacks official sovereignty recognition, it is de facto autonomous.

The Relation of Security To Identity

This indicates that identity and security are inseparable; one cannot begin to talk about security without talking about the identity which is being secured, and vice versa. Lebanon is an example of a state that is engaged in PSC. Inthe Maronites felt persecuted to the extent that they attempted to seize power, which led to their massacre by the Muslims. To this day, PSC continues between the religious groups in Lebanon, and the Maronites continue to feel that their identity is threatened by Muslims.


Security is thus needed to defend identity — the two concepts are deeply intertwined, and Maronite security cannot be explained without taking into account the subjective role of Maronite identity.

To conclude, security and identity are not only related, but mutually reinforce each other to a significant extent. Without security, identity cannot exist, and vice versa. Identity groups securitise threats to their survival, and respond as best they can to nullify that security threat, whether by military, cultural or political means.

Neorealism is fatally flawed in its refusal to accept the role of intersubjectively constructed identities as the precursor to interests, and in its narrow focus upon states.

While identities are intersubjectively constructed and can emerge or disappear over time, they remain relatively fixed entities, and are thus an essential referent object for security. Manchester University Press, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Columbia University Press, Cambridge University Press, Pearson Education Limited, Oxford University Press, John Wiley and Sons, University of California Press, Spring Cambridge University Press,p.

Pearson Education Limited,p. Manchester University Press,p. Lynne Rienner Publishers,p. Oxford University Press,p. Cambridge Journals,p. Lerner Publications,p. University of California Press, Springp.

Fontana Press,p. Columbia University Press,p. John Wiley and Sons,pp. University of Exeter Written for: John Heathershaw Date written: Before you download your free e-book, please consider donating to support open access publishing.

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