Journal Article


Transforming Security and Development in an Unequal World

Published on 1 March 2009

Wide gaps have opened between a vision of a prosperous and secure post-Cold War world and the realities of violent conflict and chronic poverty experienced by much of the world’s population. These gaps reflect failures of understanding, conflicts of interest, resource constraints, and poor implementation.

Security, like development, is seen as something the North delivers through its policy interventions and aid programmes, rather than as the product of changes in the developing South, reflecting the priorities and interests of those most at risk.

This IDS Bulletin aims to redress this imbalance. Re-thinking security demands innovative yet rigorous empirical analysis of the sources of insecurity in a world divided by profound inequality and ongoing conflict. It should identify spaces existing for change to empower and protect those most at risk. In a first step towards such an analysis, contributors re-think security from the point of view of the most vulnerable, excluded and insecure. Security (and peace) is a global as well as a national public good, with large externalities and diffuse benefits.

This IDS Bulletin provides inspiring examples of how active citizens, civil society groups, media and social movements have mobilised to challenge accepted definitions of security and to work for the rights of the vulnerable and oppressed. But the issue remains of how such efforts can be aggregated to construct an embryonic global public able to ensure security is truly treated as a public good, rather than managed as if it were an asset of powerful states and global capital.

Table of contents

Introduction: Transforming Security and Development in an Unequal World Robin Luckham

“Security from Below” in Contexts of Chronic Violence’ Alexandra Abello Colak and Jenny Pearce

Community-based Security and Justice: Arbakai in Afghanistan  Mohammed Osman Tariq

New Media and Conflict Transformation in Sri Lanka Sanjana Hattotuwa

Gendering the New Security Paradigm in Sri Lanka Neloufer de Mel

The Gender and Human Security Debate Anuradha Chenoy

Effecting Change through Women’s Activism in Liberia Leymah Gbowee

Violence, Identity and (In)Security: Experiencing the Maoist Insurgency in Peru Fiona Wilson

Identity and Security in Arab Countries Mustapha Kamal Al-Sayyid

Violence, (In)Security and Human Rights in Latin America Gastón Chillier and Silvia Varela

Political Dimensions of Security Transformation in Latin America Claudio Fuentes Saavedra

Politics of Social Exclusion, State Reform and Security in Sri Lanka Sunil Bastian

The Security Sector in Arab Countries: Can it be Reformed? Bassma Kodmani and May Chartouni-Dubarry

ECOWAS and Civil Society Movements in West Africa Funmi Olanisakin

The Global Marketplace and the Privatisation of Security Jeffrey Isima

Shifts in Global Security Policies: Why They Matter for the South Susan L. Woodward


Image of Robin Luckham

Robin Luckham

Emeritus Fellow

Image of Fiona Wilson

Fiona Wilson

Emeritus Fellow

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Publication details

published by
Luckham, R. with Bagayoko, N., Dammert, L., Fuentes, C. and Solis, M.
Robin Luckham with Niagale Bagayoko, Lucia Dammert, Claudio Fuentes and Michael Solis
IDS Bulletin, volume 40, issue 2


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