ICCS seminar series podcast: Security Cosmopolitanism: Case, Critiques, and Future

Posted on Tuesday 3rd December 2013

ICCS seminar series: Security Cosmopolitanism: Case, Critiques, and Future

Speaker: Dr Anthony Burke, Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Cooperation, Conflict and Security, and Reader in Political and International Studies at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia. While at Birmingham he is working on two books, Ethics and Global Security: A Cosmopolitan Approach (for Routledge) and Uranium (for Polity Press Cambridge).

This paper, published this year in Critical Studies on Security, argues that both a range of transnational (event-based and systemic) insecurities, and state abuses of security discourse to compromise rights and cause insecurity, create a compelling normative and empirical case for a new security paradigm: security cosmopolitanism. It does so in the service of a distinctive understanding of global security as a universal good: one in which the security of all states and all human beings is of equal weight, in which causal chains and processes spread widely across space and through time, and in which security actors bear a responsibility to consider the global impact of their choices.

The paper lays out the key ontological and ethical frameworks for security cosmopolitanism. These challenge the dominant ontological foundations of national security (and international society) anchored in the social contract between citizen and state. Security cosmopolitanism argues that states cannot contain and immunize the national social body from external threats; rather, insecurity arises in a borderless way from the very histories, choices, powers, and systems of modernity. This generates both a new analytical model for global security and a different – relational, networked, and future-oriented – ethic of responsibility. It then concludes with some responses to recent critiques, and opens out future directions for research and policy.

View the full list of the ICCS seminar series 2013