Selchow, Sabine (2014) ‘Security Policy and (Global) Risk(s)’ in: Kaldor, Mary and Iavor Rangelov (eds). The Handbook of Global Security Policy. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 68-84.
Current and future scholarly engagements with security practices and policies will not be able to avoid engagement with the concept of ‘risk’. This is because of the increasing reliance on the logic of ‘risk’ in security practices that is particularly apparent in the West. There is a growing number of scholarly engagements with ‘risk’ in the context of security, which apply a variety of different conceptions of ‘risk’. This Chapter introduces two different approaches to ‘risk’. The Chapter starts with a general introduction of the concept of ‘risk’ as a modern invention to ‘tame’ the uncertainties of the future in order to enable action in the present. Based on this foundation, the Chapter proceeds into two different directions. First, the Chapter takes up the post-Cold War phenomenon of an increasing reliance on the concept of ‘risk’ in security practices and highlights four dynamics that are set in motion through its application in policy-making. It suggests that these dynamics need to be both recognised and critically considered in the context of Security Studies because they turn security practices into a complex social practice, which has profound implications reaching far beyond the narrow realm of ‘security’. As such, the increasing significance of the logic of ‘risk’ in security policy-making must become subject to a broader public discussion about nothing short of the future (of the constitution) of affected societies. Second, the Chapter provides an account of Ulrich Beck’s concepts of ‘global risk’ and ‘risk society’ and its implied imperative to rethink (the way we currently think about) modern security institutions.
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