The main source chosen for this paper is the book titled Regions and Powers: The Structure of National Security by Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver. In the book, the authors explore the concept of securitisation from the historical perspective examining the domains of its structure according to various theoretical approaches such as regionalist, globalist, and neorealist (Buzan & Wæver 2003). The latter perspective is state-centric and driven by the balance-of-power logic. In this understanding, the states’ security concerns are closely related to the multipolarity or unipolarity of the power. The main concept and tendency of the globalist perspective (based on the idea of the globalisation) is “deterritorialisation of the world politics” (Buzan & Wæver 2003, p. 7). This perspective contradicts with the previous approach as the neorealist point of view disagrees with the breach of strict separation of the states. The milder version of the globalist perspective involves the active participation of the interstates agencies and organisations that facilitate the connections and blur out the borders. Within this approach, the scholars focus on the relations between the centre and the periphery (developed and developing countries) and their interactions as the exploiters and the exploited or as more and less dominant forces in the global arena. Finally, the regionalist perspective in concentrated on specific areas of the world and the balance of powers there instead of viewing states as the global agents. According to this point of view, the polarity of the global powers has shifted since the end of the Cold War and without any equal rivals, the powerful states are less likely to be interested in the global domination and cross-regional alliances (Buzan & Wæver 2003).
Balzacq (2014) approaches the theory of securitisation through the concept of desecuritisation. The author points out that “the meaning of securitisation depends on whether the securitizing actors consider what they are doing is the response to a securitising move” (Balzacq 2014, p. 126). In other words, the forms of securitisation may differ from a verbal intent to a plan, an action, or even an attack – the common characteristic of all of these actions is that they occur as the results of a perceived threat. Balzacq (2014) adds that depending on its forms, securitisation may produce different impacts on the individuals and states around.
Further, in his article Words, Images, Enemies: Securitisation and International Politics, Williams (2003) explores the form of securitisation that is known as a speech-act. The author states that “As a speech-act, securitisation has a specific structure which in practice limits the theoretically unlimited nature of ‘‘security’’” (Williams 2003, p. 513). In this case, the constraints involve the form in which the speech-act is performed and the social and empirical environments in place at the time while the claim is made. That way, the speech-acts can be subdivided into the verbal statements (one of the actors makes a clear utterance of their perceptions of the threat) and the social positions (without making a statement, an actor puts into practice a certain choice that communicates their securitisation to the other actors).
Taureck (2006) perceives the act of securitisation using environmental approach and taking into consideration that factors that preceded the act and impacted its form. According to the author, an actor who intends to securitise an issue is to go through three steps that are the identification of an existing threat, an action driven by emergency concerns, and the effect this action produces on the inter-unit relations (Taureck 2006). In other words, the author maintains that initially, an actor is to communicate the perceived threat as existential (make a securitisation move) in order to persuade the audience that there is the need for the securitisation mode (the creation and implementation of the rules and policies that result from the securitisation). That way, an idea of a threat is constructed and presented socially and politically, without taking into consideration the threats and interests of the other sides involved.
Finally, Stone (2009) outlines various areas in which securitisation may occur. Apart from the military, the threats can also be of political (regional and global rivalries, competition for influence and power), economic (financial crises and recessions), societal (ideology, culture, and ethnicity threats among others), and environmental (ecological hazards, the confrontation of humans and nature, the natural threats that are out of control) (Stone 2009). Securitisation may appear at any of these levels or at several levels at a time making the process of handling it even more complicated as the challenges are multidimensional, and the actors are multiple.
Balzacq, T 2014, Contesting Security: Strategies and Logics. Routlege, London.
Buzan, B & Wæver, O 2003, Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Stone, M 2009, ‘Security According to Buzan: A Comprehensive Security Analysis’, Security Discussion Papers Series, no. 1, pp. 1-11.
Taureck, R 2006, ‘Securitisation Theory and Securitisation Studies’, Journal of International Relations and Development, no. 9, pp. 53-61.
Williams, C M 2003, ‘Words, Images, Enemies: Securitization and International Politics’, International Studies Quarterly, no. 47, pp. 511–531.