Security Studies year 2
Governance and Security – Literature summaries
Krahmann, E. (2003). Conceptualizing security governance, Cooperation and
Conflict, 38: 5– 26.
The complexities of the new security environment which emerged after the Cold War are not
fully grasped by the concept of multipolarity. Besides states new actors have proliferated, such
as regional and sub regional institutions where an increasing number of public and private
organize their interest in international security. This shift can be broadly defined as the shift
form governments more towards governance.
Theory and the changing Transatlantic security architecture:
Three main theories important>
- Balance of power
- Security regimes
- Security communities: defined as a region of states whose people maintain dependable
expectations of peaceful change. They build upon mutual trust and a collective identity.
The transatlantic security landscape has changed since the Cold War, four developments >
- Since the end of the Cold War a broad range of new institutions have been created to
address the specific security needs of a limited number of countries, rather than the
transatlantic community as a whole.
- Many of these new institutions are more flexible, often addressing very specific security
needs for the specific set of members.
- The traditional security institutions such as NATO increasingly favour changing
coalitions of member states rather than the collective institution. This to encourage ad
hoc cooperation among a limited number of members in a coalition of the willing.
- Growing reliance/involvement of private security actors.
From government to governance in international security:
The definition for governance in this paper states; governance denotes the structures/processes
which enable public/private actors to coordinate their needs and interests through the
implementation of binding policy decisions in the absence of a central political authority.
Governance can be differentiated from government along seven dimensions >
- Geographical scope: So, in government the state is the primary actor. In governance
fragmentation can take place downwards to regional bodies, upwards to global bodies
or sideways to private actors.
- Functional scope: A government functions through a central authority, while
governance results in regulation being provided by separate actors who specialise.
- Distribution of resources: In government the resources are held and channelled by the
central authority. In governance the resources are dispersed among a number of actors.
- Interests: Governments seek to find and act on the common interests, while governance
accepts conflicting interests and tries to bring together like minded actors.
- Norms: Government promotes a strong state while governance promotes the self
determination of private/public actors.
- Decision making: Government decision making is hierarchal, in governance decision
making is based on consensus and the horizontal distribution of power.
- Policy implementation: In government this is centralised, coercive and authoritative.
In governance this is decentralized, and policies are self-enforced.
Multiple factors have contributed to the shift from government to governance >
- Increased budgetary pressures have encouraged the outsourcing and privatization of
public policy functions in the hope to improve efficiency.
- A growing awareness of global problems such as transnational crime, terrorism and
migration which can only be resolved through international cooperation.
- Globalization and the increased transnational contacts.
The rise of Security Governance:
In the previously discussed dimensions, we see variations in trends regarding the rise of security
Dimension 1: The geographical dimension transformation since the Cold War is characterised
by increasing integration due to expansion. There is also an increase in dispersion of authority
between different institutions. And an increased reliance on private security actors which
Dimension 2: The functional dimension has seen a growing recognition of non-traditional
security topics, combined with the limited expertise/resources of governments it has led to an
increase in functional specialization and fragmentation.
Dimension 3: The distribution of resources dimension has seen fragmentation due to rising
costs for governments to maintain a security apparatus themselves. That is why we see an
increasing diffusion of resources between private and public actors. And the increase in sharing
of capabilities in bilateral/multilateral agreements.
Dimension 4: The interest dimension has seen an increase in regional, non-traditional security
interests. Only the really profound interests such as national defence still experiences limited
centralization. The other interests are increasingly defended by an increasing number of actors.
Dimension 5: The norms dimension has seen a shift in the decrease of the norm of collective
responsibility, partially due to the increased use of coalitions of the willing and increase in
bi/tri/quad/etc. lateral treaties.
Dimension 6: The decision-making dimension has seen an increased use of closed issue
specific networks through which decisions are made horizontally. And the decreased use of the
doctrine of consensus and equal votes in multilateral institutions.
Dimension 7: The policy implementation dimension has seen an increase in the distribution of
resources among different levels in non-governmental organizations.
Abrahamsen, R. and Williams, M. C. (2009). Security beyond the State: Global
Security Assemblages in International Politics. International Political Sociology,
Case studies of Sierra Leone and Nigeria:
When asked on the exam look it up in the reading Mike!
The emergence of global security assemblages:
Private security is defined as “private authority associated with organized violence (can be both
legal or illegal)”. This article focusses on the private commercial security sector, it is less eye
catching than the private military sector but still has profound impacts on society. We call these
companies “global security assemblages”. Due to the process of state disassembly and global
reassembly we can analyse security privatization. Three interrelated processes contribute >
- Neoliberal economics and public policy: This school of thought is in favour of
privatization and public-private partnerships. States have moved away from hierarchal
structures of governing, the government ought to be play more of a managerial role.
- Shifting norms/values of security: A widespread scepticism towards rehabilitation and
the increase in the harshness of punishment that started in the 1970s. Result was a
dramatic increase in incarceration, and therefore opportunities for private actors.
- Increased use of risk based security thinking and technology: The increased focus
on risk does not reflect the actual increase in threats, but merely a way of thinking.
Private security and global governance:
The partial disassembly of the state has been a central factor in the growth of the private security
sector, this does not mean it fills a gap left by a weak state necessarily. Many rich, western
states also have a large private security sector. It can be inside the legitimized processes of
public-private partnerships. And in countries where the government can no longer protect its
citizens, private companies can actually be of great help in providing security.
However private security companies may serve to consolidate productive enclaves whose
economic benefits escape the local populations that surround them, and the capacities of private
security companies may thus contribute to a continuation of the sources of instability and
conflict. Put differently, while global security assemblages may enhance the state’s economic
and security capacities, this does not necessarily mean that they strengthen the state in a broader