This edited collection explores the fruitfulness of applying an interpretive approach to the study of global security. The interpretive approach concentrates on unpacking the meanings and beliefs of various policy actors, and, crucially, explains those beliefs by locating them in historical traditions and as responses to dilemmas. Interpretivists thereby seek to highlight the contingency, diversity, and contestability of the narratives, expertise, and beliefs that inform political action. The interpretive approach is widespread in the study of governance and public policy, but arguably it has not yet had much impact on security studies. The book therefore deploys the interpretive approach to explore contemporary issues in international security, combining theoretical engagement with good empirical coverage through a novel set of case studies.
Bringing together a fresh mix of world renowned and up-and-coming scholars from across the fields of security studies, political theory and international relations, the chapters explore the beliefs, traditions, and dilemmas that have informed security practice on the one hand, and the academic study of security on the other, as well as the connections between them. All contributors look to situate their work against a broader historical background and long-standing traditions, allowing them to take a critical yet historically informed approach to the material.