Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Human security: Concept and practice

Venu Menon, Sudha (2007): Human security: Concept and practice.

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In the era of multiplying and escalating risks, both at national and international level, security of individual –popularly known as human security- from pervasive threats and fears become an area of intellectual discourse and policy debate. This is especially significant after the end of cold war, emergence of multi-polarity and proliferation of global terrorism. However, there is no established concept of human security in mainstream social science debates across the world. In the absence of a theory of human security, there exist few quantitative indicators and hence few data base on human security. More recently political theorists tried to develop a concept of human security based on the concept of human development and human rights. Yet, social science theory has not yet come forward with a comprehensive view of what exactly constitute human security. The matter is further complicated by the process of globalization and the high social costs associated with it.

Against this context, this article attempts to analyze the concept of human security and its implication in a global context threatened by multiple forces of fear and insecurity. Introductory section gives historical background of human security and its recent interpretations through institutional interventions. The institutional mechanisms include UNDP report of 1994, International Commission on intervention and state sovereignty etc. Section two analyzes theoretical contributions of Amartya Sen, Emma Rothschild, Thomas, King and Murray, Kanti Bajpai, Hampton, and Leaning in popularizing the concept of human security. Section three defines human security from different dimensions and highlights the relevance of broader and inclusive concept of human security in the post cold war era. Section four analyzes positive and negative approaches towards human security in application level. Positive human security is analyzed on the basis of initiatives of Canada, Norway and Japan towards Human Security centric governance and its impact on economic and social security. Negative Approach is evaluated in the context of USA and EU policy in Middle East and other countries.

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