The art(s and humanities) of security

A broader approach to countering security threats

Authored by: Andrew Glazzard

The Routledge International Handbook of Universities, Security and Intelligence Studies

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138572416
eBook ISBN: 9780203702086
Adobe ISBN:


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Security, in the sense of protecting people and states from threats such as terrorism, covert activity by hostile nations and political subversion, is generally conceived as a science rather than an art. It is certainly the case that, in the UK at least, the academic disciplines judged to be relevant to security threats are assumed to be the natural and social sciences: the UK’s 2018 National Security Capability Review proclaimed that Britain’s ‘scientific output is among the best in the world across the range of disciplines relevant to security’ and announced the creation of a new national security science and technology strategy (Cabinet Office, 2018: p. 13). However, governments worried about security threats need to pay attention to the arts and humanities, both to understand the threats and to develop responses. A security threat such as Islamist terrorism is not simply a matter of quantifiable resources, capabilities and techniques: it involves ideas, emotions and imaginations.

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