This textbook examines non-traditional forms of security and expands the notion of security to include non-state actors and non-human actors. 

Proposing an expansive view of non-traditional forms of security that go beyond traditionally recognized issues of threats to state and national territory, this new textbook rests on the following premises:

  • traditional state-centered threats, such as nuclear proliferation and espionage, remain a concern;

  • old and new threats combine and create interlocking puzzles—a feature of wicked problems and wicked messes;
  • because of the global erosion of borders, new developments of unconventional insecurity interact in ways that frustrate traditional conceptual definitions, conceptual maps, and national policies;
  • unconventional security challenges which have traditionally been seen as "low politics" or "soft" issues are now being recognized as "hard security" challenges in the twenty-first century;
  • many of the so-called "new" threats detailed here are in fact very old: diseases, gender violence, food insecurity, under-development, and crime are all traditional security threats, but deeply modified today by globalization.

The chapters offer local and global examples and engage with various theoretical approaches to help readers see the bigger picture. Solutions are also suggested to these problems. Each chapter contains discussion questions to help readers understand the key points and facilitate class discussion.

This book will be of great interest to students of international security studies, human security, global politics, and international relations.

part I|2 pages

Ecosystems and natural resources

chapter |15 pages


Yesterday’s security debates, today’s realities

chapter 1|14 pages

Climate change

The existential threat multiplier

chapter 2|12 pages


A new and emerging security threat?

chapter 4|11 pages

Competition and cooperation in energy policies

Dilemmas for national security and influence

part II|2 pages

Human security, community and gender issues

chapter 5|13 pages

The body politics of security

Sexual and reproductive health rights

chapter 6|11 pages

Gender-based violence

A threat to human security in the Global North and Global South

chapter 7|13 pages

Food security governance

Lessons from the Global South

chapter 8|12 pages

Invisible foes and micro-enemies

Pathogens, diseases, and global health security

chapter 9|13 pages

Push, pull and politics

The international migration issue after the Syrian Civil War, Brexit and Trump

part III|2 pages

Sub- and trans-state actors and forces: Disruptions and violence

chapter 10|13 pages

Sub-state actors’ threats to international security

Religious extremists and terrorist groups

chapter 11|11 pages

Organized crime and trafficking

Mapping out the threats and actors to find solutions

chapter 12|13 pages

Transnational organized crime and globalization

Godmothers of the Mafia and the undermining of the Italian state and society

chapter 13|11 pages

Emerging threats in cyber space

The next domain of warfare

chapter 15|13 pages

Threats from STEM

chapter 17|1 pages

Steeped in insecurity?

Democracy, conflict, and the threat of populist security