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Security Issue Complexes as an Innovative Tool for the Analysis of Threats and Challenges in International Relations

Conflict
International Relations
Political Theory
Security
Terrorism
Analytic
War
Wolfram Ridder
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Howard Loewen
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Wolfram Ridder
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Alexander Niedermeier
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Abstract

In this paper, the authors will provide the foundational work on which the three empirical case studies on the new approach of security issue complexes is based. In doing so, the authors will first discuss and analyze the process of widening and deepening our understanding of security, which for most parts of the Cold War remained confined to the domain of national security, conceived of mainly in terms of military considerations and power constellations. Coinciding with the breakdown of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, especially through contributions from the Copenhagen School and through the analytical lens of “Securitization”, a virtual myriad of “new” issues emerged which subsequently were integrated into the academic discipline of Security Studies, resulting in a significant increase of so-called “referent objects of security”, like human security, societal security, and regime security. At the same time, scholarship began to discover that additionally to newly-emerging referent objects of security, there were also further important dimensions of the term security, most prominently conceptualized as environmental security, food security, migration security, health security, gender-related security, and so on. However valuable for the academic understanding of specific inter- and intrastate dynamics this process of widening and deepening of our understanding of security, it also significantly complicated our ability to actually and profoundly understand the precise dynamics from which specific challenges and threats for individual human beings and collectives can emerge. In order to facilitate our understanding of the emergence and implications of such challenges and threats, the authors propose to subdivide the encompassing and intricate “security conglomerate” into so-called “security issue complexes”, since we are through these better able to account for and understand the multidimensionality and specific interrelatedness of such challenges and threats. Three important of these complexes are, first, the so-called “Clash of Fundamentalism and Postmodernity” and, second, the complex of “Climate, Energy, Resources & Crisis Commodities”. Third, the authors will propose the complex of “Global Public Health and Natural Disasters”. Finally, it will be shown that there are important and promising further avenues for research into these examples of security issue complexes by focusing on over- and underreaction in the development of policy responses when confronting challenges and threats within a security issue complex.