Why is the Copenhagen School of security studies, particularly its theory of securitization, significant in the deepening and broadening of the concept of security, especially in the post cold war...

Why is the Copenhagen School of security studies, particularly its theory of securitization, significant in the deepening and broadening of the concept of security, especially in the post cold war era?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Broadening and Deepening

The Copenhagen School of security studies is significant in the deepening and broadening of the concept of security because, unlike traditional theories of security, the Copenhagen School accepts any referent as a participant of whether security is needed whereas traditional schools recognize only the government as the referent. For traditionalist theory, security is inextricably intertwined with situations of war. Only the government has the authority to wage war, thus only the government has the authority to engage about matters of security. The Copenhagen School deepens and broadens the concept of security because it rejects the rigid relationship between government and security. They posit, in contrast, that the question of security is validated by an "actor" and an "audience" who initiate discussion of security and accept the need for security.

Securitization

Securitization, as introduced by the Copenhagen School, presents the concept of security needs as a "speech act," while defining speech act linguistically as the multi-layered communication of speech in which an idea is expressed, an intention is conveyed and an audience is intentionally affected (idea expressed: speaking words; intention conveyed: request or promise, etc; audience affected: sympathetically, motivationally, etc). The Copenhagen School elevates the question of security to the level of universal speech acts in which any actor and any referent may participate. This elevation of security questions to speech acts further broadens and deepens the concept of security by expanding the participants and audience in the security conversation, thus expanding the scope of individuals affecting the function of security measures.

Post-Positivist Post Cold War Theory

Post Cold War international relations were molded by the rejection of positivism, which held that the empirical observation mode successfully used in natural sciences was not suited to or applicable to social sciences and particularly not to security questions. Postpositivists of the post Cold War era sought to broaden security by integrating a larger range of security concerns.

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