Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

1: Introduction

  • Page ID
    74487
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    Learning Objectives

    • Explain what human security can mean to different people and cultures, based on the history of the concept and an overview of the literature.
    • Apply comprehensive models of human security (such as the four-pillars model) to specific problems in human security and identify particular sources of insecurity.
    • Explain how the Anthropocene is changing interpretations of human security both in theory and in practice.
    • Differentiate between those goals of human security that depend on environmental security and those that do not.
    • Learn to develop a vision and a reasoned perspective on future possibilities for human security.
    • Become aware of the general range of possible futures for human security and evaluate new information in that context; make educated predictions about possible futures in the light of new information.

    Alexander Lautensach and Sabina Lautensach

    This introduction contains portions of writings published in the following works: Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies (2010) 3(2): 194-210; Australasian Journal of Human Security (2006) 2(3): 5-14; Sustainability (2012) 4(5): 1059-1073; Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, P.G. Harris (ed.) (2012). Further inspiration came from editorials in the Journal of Human Security.

    This second edition of our textbook of human security marks the 25th anniversary of the official emergence of human security as a guiding concept in world affairs. In contrast, international relations as a discipline is just over a century old, while the concern for human security has probably moved humanity since the dawn of sapience. From the beginning of modern statehood (i.e. 1648) as a guiding concept in sociopolitical affairs, security has been largely discussed within the context of state security. One ongoing challenge for advocates of human security, then, is to extract human security from under the conceptual umbrella of international relations, both within the academy and in public discourse. That has been a prominent goal behind both editions of this textbook. A second major goal arises from the tumultuous changes of 2019/20 that manifested as a worldwide protest movement in favour of making human security more sustainable, and in the first global pandemic that marks humanity’s transition to a sustainable future. This introduction sets the stage for the chapter topics as we briefly survey the history of the human security concept, which will be followed by a discussion of its current challenges and its future. Brief summaries of the chapter topics will be connected into that discussion.


    1: Introduction is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?