chapter  7
18 Pages

Governmentalizing the state: The disciplining logic of human security


The human security agenda often is presented generally as challenging the state security approach and state centrism in security studies and international relations. The challenge of human security was first articulated prominently in the agendasetting Human Development Report 1994 (HDR 1994). The HDR 1994 sought to push onto the stage of post-Cold War international politics a broad conceptualization of security that would extend beyond the state (United Nations Development Program 1994). Human security’s claim to critique the narrow and state-centrist conceptualization of security has since often been repeated and hotly debated. Indeed, it has provided a fruitful basis for raising fundamental questions concerning the role and security of the sovereign state as well as the state of state sovereignty in the contemporary global order. Notwithstanding the extensive problematisation around state-centrism and the state to which it has given rise, human security thought and application remains largely statist. As highlighted in the epigraph, focusing on the security of people means reinforcing the security of the state, according to Sadako Ogata (2002), co-Chair of the Commission on Human Security. Indeed, the Commission promotes in its final report a staunchly statist human security approach: the state is ‘the fundamental purveyor of security’ whose security is to be guaranteed by human security (Commission on Human Security 2003: 2).