Review of International Studies

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The postcolonial moment in security studies


Article author query
barkawi t   [Google Scholar] 
laffey m   [Google Scholar] 


In this article, we critique the Eurocentric character of security studies as it has developed since World War II. The taken-for-granted historical geographies that underpin security studies systematically misrepresent the role of the global South in security relations and lead to a distorted view of Europe and the West in world politics. Understanding security relations, past and present, requires acknowledging the mutual constitution of European and non-European worlds and their joint role in making history. The politics of Eurocentric security studies, those of the powerful, prevent adequate understanding of the nature or legitimacy of the armed resistance of the weak. Through analysis of the explanatory and political problems Eurocentrism generates, this article lays the groundwork for the development of a non-Eurocentric security studies.

(Published Online May 24 2006)


1 For comments thanks to Duncan Bell, John Game, Geoffrey Hawthorne, Jane Hayward, Stephen Hopgood, Charles Jones, Richard Ned Lebow, Daniel Nexon, Louiza Odysseos, Glen Rangwala, Justin Rosenberg, Martin Shaw, Naveed Sheikh and especially Naeem Inayatullah and Jutta Weldes.