The Position and Consequences of Security in Liberal Political Thought

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Security is increasingly becoming the primary, trumping value in current political agendas and therefore is a key issue for political theory. This paper argues that as a concept, security is central in both classic and contemporary liberal political thought. In establishing security as its most fundamental principle, liberal thought is susceptible to potential authoritarian restrictions of liberty grounded in security logic. Following a discussion of the historical development of the security concept up until current debates around securitisation and the liberty/security balance, this paper aims to deconstruct security’s pivotal position in liberal theory. Through examining liberal thought from social contract theorists, Locke and other classical liberals to contemporary thinkers, the key and problematic nature of security reasoning becomes clear. This paper then turns to contemporary theorists of security, both from within and outside the liberal paradigm, to find strategies which may counteract the authoritarian tendencies of liberal security thinking. In doing so, the strengths and weaknesses of rejuvenated philosophical engagement and critical perspectives of security are laid bare. In concluding, this paper finds that multiple strategies could be applied symbiotically to best alleviate liberal thought from the authoritarian potential of its inherent need for security.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen