‘The Utility of Human Security’: Which Humans? What Security? A Reply to Thomas & Tow

Non-refereed Journal Article

McDonald, Matt; & Bellamy, Alex J. (2002) ‘The Utility of Human Security’: Which Humans? What Security? A Reply to Thomas & Tow , Security Dialogue 33(3): .

Abstract

Thomas & Tow’s evaluation of the utility of human security is an important contribution to an ongoing debate about what security is and for whom security should be provided. In particular, the authors’ engagement with the human security agenda is important given the centrality of this approach to recent attempts to rethink security. This article argues, however, that Thomas & Tow’s approach to the human security agenda is problematic for two central reasons. First, their attempt to narrow security to make this approach amenable to state policymakers risks reifying the sources of insecurity for individuals everywhere. Second, the conception of human security they put forward appears largely inconsistent with the normative concerns inherent in the human security agenda.