How important is the provision of security for successful peacebuilding?What role should security sector reform play in this context?
realised. SSR must, in this context, aim to reduce violence while ceasing toreinforce the unhelpful ideal of the infinitely securable liberal state.
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.
In the context of a discourse theory that operates under a post-Saussurian,relational (as opposed to representational) model of language,
‘mastersignifier’ means: “the “empty” signifier which totalizes (“quilts”) thedispersed field”.
In other words, ‘security’ is a signifier that fixessemantic slippage to form a stable symbolic order (“the real”)
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.
It was supposed that global security would now be concerned withthe technical administration of low-scale conflict – effectively civil war
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:
Fabio Petito and Pavlos Hatzopoulos,
Religion in International Relations : The Return fromExile
, 1st ed. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p.167.
Ferdinand de Saussure,
Course in General Linguistics
(Chicago: Open Court Publishing Co.,1998).; Ernesto Laclau, "Politics and the Limits of Modernity,"
, no. 21 (1989): p.68-9.;Jacques Derrida,
Writing and Difference
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978).
Enjoy Your Symptom! : Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out
, Rev. ed. (New York:Routledge, 2001), p.103.
Écrits: A Selection
, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Routledge, 2001).
The End of History and the Last Man
(New York Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992).
e.g. :M. Duffield, "Global Civil War: The Non-Insured, International Containment and Post-Interventionary Society,"
Journal of Refugee Studies
21, no. 2 (2008).