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How important is the provision of security for successful peacebuilding? What role should security sector reform play in this context?

How important is the provision of security for successful peacebuilding? What role should security sector reform play in this context?

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Published by: circlingsquares on Sep 14, 2009
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05/11/2014

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How important is the provision ofsecurity for successfulpeacebuilding?What role should security sectorreform play in this context?
by Philip Conway
[www.circlingsquares.blogspot.com]
 
How important is the provision of security for successful peacebuilding?What role should security sector reform play in this context?
p.1.
Table of Contents
1: INTRODUCTION
................................................................................................................1
 
2: TERMINOLOGY
..................................................................................................................2
 
S
ECURITY
................................................................................................................................2
 
P
EACEBUILDING
......................................................................................................................5
 
S
ECURITY
S
ECTOR
R
EFORM
......................................................................................................8
 
3: QUESTION 1
.........................................................................................................................9
 
4: QUESTION 2
......................................................................................................................10
 
5: CONCLUSION
....................................................................................................................11
 
6: BIBLIOGRAPHY
................................................................................................................12
 
1: Introduction
ow important the provision of security for successfulpeacebuilding is depends upon how one defines those words.While ‘peacebuilding’, “remains an amorphous term”
1
, ‘security’has become “extraordinarily expansive and vague”.
2
Indeed, security is“an essentially contested concept”;
3
however it is also “increasinglyinfluential in narrating the changing patterns of world order andprescribing action within them.”
4
An increase in usage correlates withgreater contestation, elevated importance and, unfortunately, lessanalytical clarity.The title questions beg the explication of three terms: security,peacebuilding and security sector reform (SSR). Clarification of the rolethese terms play in current political theory will simplify the task at hand.Moreover, a critique of each will introduce the themes and theoriesnecessary to answer the title questions. Following the analysis of eachterm, each question is answered in turn, utilising a critical postmodernistperspective. It is found that security is indispensable for successfulpeacebuilding but equally (and counter-intuitively) peacebuilding isindispensable for the ideal of security in an environment where it is un- 
1
Necla Tschirgi, "Peacebuilding as the Link between Security and Development: Is the Window of Opportunity Closing?," (New York: International Peace Academy: Studies in Security andDevelopment, 2003), p.1.
2
R. Paris, "Human Security - Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?,"
 International Security
26, no. 2 (2001):p.88.
3
Matt McDonald, "Human Security and the Construction of Security,"
Global Society
16, no. 3(2002).p.277.
4
M. De Larrinaga and M. G. Doucet, "Sovereign Power and the Biopolitics of Human Security,"
Security Dialogue
39, no. 5 (2008): p.517.
H
 
How important is the provision of security for successful peacebuilding?What role should security sector reform play in this context?
 
p.2.
realised. SSR must, in this context, aim to reduce violence while ceasing toreinforce the unhelpful ideal of the infinitely securable liberal state.
2: Terminology
Security
It has been argued that:
Security works as a master signifier in much the same way as ‘God’and other master signifiers do in an ideological discourse.
5
 
In the context of a discourse theory that operates under a post-Saussurian,relational (as opposed to representational) model of language,
6
‘mastersignifier’ means: “the “empty” signifier which totalizes (“quilts”) thedispersed field”.
7
In other words, ‘security’ is a signifier that fixessemantic slippage to form a stable symbolic order (“the real”)
8
for thediscourse of the nation-state; it provides the point at which the discourse(and thus the popular understanding of the state itself) can be enclosed,encoded, determined and understood. It therefore serves, alongside suchconcepts as ‘sovereignty’ and ‘self-determination’ as a necessarily definingcharacteristic of the nation-state that must be policed and defended inorder for it to maintain the state’s signifying chain. It is an unavoidablypolitical term that functions not as a dispassionate, analytical instrumentbut as a highly disciplined aspect of the discourse of statehood and worldpolitics. By no means, however, is this to suggest that its definition staysstill. In the last twenty years, the word has undergone significantextension in its meaning.At the end of the Cold War, history was supposed to have come to anend.
9
It was supposed that global security would now be concerned withthe technical administration of low-scale conflict – effectively civil war
10
 within the sovereign jurisdiction of a unipolar world order. Securitydiscourse thus required a substantial break with its traditional points ofreference. As Joseph Nye put it in the early 1990s:
5
Fabio Petito and Pavlos Hatzopoulos,
 Religion in International Relations : The Return fromExile
, 1st ed. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p.167.
6
Ferdinand de Saussure,
Course in General Linguistics
(Chicago: Open Court Publishing Co.,1998).; Ernesto Laclau, "Politics and the Limits of Modernity,"
Social Text 
, no. 21 (1989): p.68-9.;Jacques Derrida,
Writing and Difference
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978).
7
Slavoj Zizek,
Enjoy Your Symptom! : Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out 
, Rev. ed. (New York:Routledge, 2001), p.103.
8
Jacques Lacan,
Écrits: A Selection
, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Routledge, 2001).
9
Francis Fukuyama,
The End of History and the Last Man
(New York Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992).
10
e.g. :M. Duffield, "Global Civil War: The Non-Insured, International Containment and Post-Interventionary Society,"
 Journal of Refugee Studies
21, no. 2 (2008).

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