Dr Rita Floyd

Dr Rita Floyd

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Senior Lecturer in Conflict and Security

Contact details

Department of Political Science and International Studies
School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


  • Advanced Diploma in Environmental Conservation, University of Oxford, 2012
  • PhD in International Relations, University of Warwick, 2007
  • Masters by Research in Politics, University of Edinburgh,2004
  • BA (Hons) International Relations and Politics, University of Portsmouth, 2003, 1st class


Dr Floyd (PhD, 2010 Warwick) is Lecturer in Conflict and Security in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham. She was previously a Birmingham Fellow in Conflict and Security at UoB and before then British Academy Post-doctoral and ESRC Post-doctoral Fellow (both at The University of Warwick). She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on security theory, environmental security and ethics and security. She is the author of Security and the Environment: Securitisation Theory and US Environmental Security Policy (CUP, 2010). Her second monograph entitled The Morality of Security: A Theory of Just Securitization is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2019. This book offers a new way of approaching ethics and security by bringing together insights from moral philosophy via the just war tradition, and Security Studies via securitization theory. This book develops principles of just securitization concerned exclusively with when securitization (i.e. the use of emergency politics whereby putative threats are addressed using exceptional means) is morally permissible

From January 2019 to January 2020 Rita will commence a prestigious Independent and Social Research Foundation Mid-career Fellowship awarded for her project Emergency politics: security, threats and the duties of states. This project aims to take Rita’s work on ethics and security further, it aims to unpick when securitization is morally required, tackling issues such as culpability in threat creation and the obligation to securitize. 



  • POLS 319: Security in Europe: Actors, Crisis and Threats (formerly European Security) 


  • G22: Security Studies 

Postgraduate supervision

I am second PhD supervisor to Bruno Dalponte.


Dr Floyd's is concerned with the ethics of securitization. Her monograph entitled: The Morality of Security: A theory of Just Securitization will be published in 2019 by Cambridge University Press. This book is informed by three research questions: When, if ever, may we move an issue out of normal politics and treat it as a security issue? If an issue is securitized, how must the security actions be conducted? If an issue is securitized, how and when must the securitization be reversed? This book offers answers to each one of these challenging questions. It does so by combining Security Studies’ influential securitization theory with philosophy’s long-standing just war tradition into a major new and innovate approach to the ethics of security: Just Securitization Theory. Informed by the just war tradition each research question is answered by setting forth a number of universal moral principles that govern just initiation of securitization, just conduct during securitization and just termination of securitization (just desecuritization), respectively.

In January 2019 Dr Floyd will commence a prestigious Independent and Social Research Foundation Mid-career Fellowship awarded for my project Emergency politics: security, threats and the duties of states. Building on her existing work on just securitization this research project is concerned with the obligation to securitize. It’s central research question is this: When, if ever, are states morally obliged to treat putative threats as a matter for emergency politics and address them using exceptional measures? This project will tackle issues such as culpability in threat creation and the obligation to securitize, the costs to securitizing actors and the issue whether or not the request for other-defence via securitization by putative referent objects renders securitization obligatory. Whilst this project is ultimately intended as a research monograph in its own right, it builds logically on the assumptions of my existing work on just securitization. After all, a theory of the obligation to securitize must begin by thinking about the permissibility to do, as one can only have a duty to perform acts (i.e. securitization) that are permissible.

Other activities

  • I am a Fellow of the Institute for Environmental Security (IES), (www.envirosecurity.org/). 
  • From July 2010 – July 2011 I was an independent consultant to the Climate Change and Energy Programme of the New Economics Foundation (http://www.neweconomics.org/) on a DFID sponsored systematic review.
    See: Johnson, V., Fitzpatrick, I., Floyd, R. & Simms, A. 2011. What is the evidence that scarcity and shocks in freshwater resources cause conflict instead of promoting collaboration? CEE review 10-010. Collaboration for Environmental Evidence: www.environmentalevidence.org/SR10010.html 


Recent publications


Floyd, R 2019, The Morality of Security: A Theory of Just Securitization . Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108667814


Floyd, R 2021, 'Security cooperation as a primary institution of western international society', Global Change, Peace and Security, vol. 33, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.1080/14781158.2021.1876015

Floyd, R 2020, 'The function of Functional Actors', Critical Studies on Security , vol. 2021, no. 1.

Floyd, R 2019, 'Evidence of securitization in the economic sector of security in Europe? Russia’s economic blackmail of Ukraine and the EU’s conditional bailout of Cyprus ', European Security, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 173-192. https://doi.org/10.1080/09662839.2019.1604509

Floyd, R 2019, 'States, last resort and the obligation to securitize', Polity, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 378-394. https://doi.org/10.1086/701886

Floyd, R 2018, 'Collective securitisation in the EU: normative dimensions', West European Politics. https://doi.org/10.1080/01402382.2018.1510200

Floyd, R 2017, 'Parallels with the hate speech debate: the pros and cons of criminalising harmful securitising requests', Review of International Studies. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210517000328

Floyd, R 2016, 'A new standard for the evaluation of solidarist institutions', Journal of International Relations and Development. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41268-016-0004-x

Floyd, R 2016, 'Extraordinary or ordinary emergency measures: what, and who, decides the “success” of securitisation?', Cambridge Review of International Affairs, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 677-694. https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2015.1077651

Floyd, R 2015, 'Environmental security and the case against rethinking criminology as 'security-ology'', Criminology and Criminal Justice, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 277-282. https://doi.org/10.1177/1748895815584720

Floyd, R 2015, 'Global climate security governance: a case of institutional and ideational fragmentation', Conflict, Security and Development, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 119-146. https://doi.org/10.1080/14678802.2015.1034452

Floyd, R 2015, 'The question of value-added: a response to Burke', Critical Studies on Security , vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 162-166. https://doi.org/10.1080/21624887.2015.1065110

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Floyd, R 2016, The promise of theories of just securitization. in J Nyman & A Burke (eds), Ethical Security Studies: A new research agenda ., Chapter 5, Routledge, pp. 75-88.

Floyd, R 2014, Just and unjust desecuritization. in T Balzaca (ed.), Contesting Security: Strategies and Logics. 1st edn, PRIO New Security Studies, Routledge, pp. 122-138.


Floyd, R, Matthew, RA, Floyd, R & Matthew, RA 2012, Environmental Security Studies: An Introduction. in Environmental Security: Approaches and Issues.

View all publications in research portal