The English School: a neglected approach to international security studies
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Leigh Ann Cragg
The ICCS Seminar Series continues with a talk from Professor Barry Buzan, Emeritus Professor of International Relations, LSE.
Few if any people working within mainstream International Security Studies would think about the English School (ES) as a body of either theory or empirical work relevant to Security Studies. Although the ES’s defining triad of concepts – international system, international society, and world society – does incorporate a Realist element, in practice the great bulk of ES work has focused on international and world society and on the rules, norms, and institution that underpin the social order of international society.
Few within the ES have explicitly addressed the International Security Studies agenda, and the concept of security does not play much of a role in ES thinking. Despite this lack of development, and seeming lack of promise, this paper makes the case that the ES can and should function not only as a way to understand certain types of security issues (so called ‘societal security’), but also as a general approach to international security.
Like several other mainstream approaches to IR, the ES not only defines a distinctive framing for international security, but also offers insights into specific issues and dynamics that other approaches occlude. The paper sets out the ES as a general theoretical framework for International Security Studies that is comparable with Realism, Liberalism, and Marxism. Barry Buzan is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the LSE (formerly Montague Burton Professor), honorary professor at Copenhagen and Jilin Universities, and a Senior Fellow at LSE Ideas.For more information on the Institute for Conflict Cooperation and Security, visit their website