IDS Evidence Report 151

Whose Security? Building Inclusive and Secure Societies in an Unequal and Insecure World

Published on 1 September 2015

Development researchers, governance specialists, security and international relations analysts are cartographers of the modern world. Their job is to untangle the tangled, yet in doing so they all too often make flat all that is high and rolling. This paper considers one particular piece of map-making: the interface between security and development. It tries to render visible some of the bumps, joins and turnings which lie beneath the maps.

It starts by arguing for a historical perspective. The theory and practice of security is like that of development issued from the historical transformations which gave rise to the post-Second World War world order. Since the end of the Cold War they have increasingly intertwined and security has been mainstreamed into development. Yet neither security nor development has fully extricated itself from the violent and extractive relationships which developed in the colonial period and continue in many respects to this day.

The paper then explores the ensuing contradictions which lie at the heart of the security–development nexus. On the one hand, security is a process of political ordering. Even more than development, it intermeshes with established power structures, property relations and inequalities. On the other hand, it is founded upon the claim that states and other forms of public order make citizens safe from violence and insecurity. In principle, it is equally shared and socially inclusive, even if in practice it is anything but.

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Luckham, R. (2015) Whose Security? Building Inclusive and Secure Societies in an Unequal and Insecure World, IDS Evidence Report 151, Brighton: IDS

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Image of Robin Luckham
Robin Luckham

Emeritus Fellow

Publication details

published by
Luckham, Robin
IDS Evidence Report, issue 151


About this publication

Programmes and centres
Addressing and mitigating violence
Research themes
Conflict and Violence

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