Regional Security Studies
One of the most important theoretical innovations of the past few decades was the inclusion of regions as frameworks for analysis into social sciences. This also means that the security studies discourse with its fundamentally Anglo-Saxon roots is but a result of the methodological and theoretical developments that occurred over the decades. Although the integration economics trend born in the 1950a and 1960s and the concept of ’regionalism’ resulting from developments in the European Union represent different disciplinary directions, the category of regional security cannot be entirely separated from these precursors. In this respect – at least concerning its roots – the theory of regional security complexes can be regarded as a ’genuine’ European theory and methodological approach.
People, States and Fear by Barry Buzan was originally published in 1983 and has been reprinted since several times. In this work, the need for the regional interpretation of security stems from the requirement of interposing an analytical plane between the national and international levels of analysis in order to provide more accurate security policy analyses. This analytical plane is that of the regional level.
Security complexes are created among groups of states whose main security threats and concerns are roughly identical, thus their national security issues cannot be handled independently. These states would develop a special pattern of power relations blending friendly and hostile relations. Interactions within the security complexes are naturally defined by geographic proximity and common history of the constituent states. These local systems not only reflect the regional power balance, but also other interactions and interdependencies within the given group of states.
This textbook, written by the scholars of the National University of Public Service, aims to explain the general characteristics of each regional security complex, from North America to Southeast Asia.