National security, culture and identity

Authored by: Iver B. Neumann

The Routledge Handbook of Security Studies

Print publication date:  November  2009
Online publication date:  December  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415463614
eBook ISBN: 9780203866764
Adobe ISBN: 9781135239077


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As demonstrated by the chapters in this Handbook, the main theme of recent scholarship on security has been how uncertainty, particularly within the specific context of the system of states, makes for dilemmas. However, security also has social roots. Among these, questions of identity and national culture loom large. The first section of this chapter is a reminder that the theme is ancient. The second section traces its arrival in the discipline of International Relations. The third section reviews particularly relevant work on national identity, civilization, enlargement of groups, and agency. The concluding section is a call for more study of the role of security practices in instantiating identity.

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