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«  February 2020  »


Human Security and Security Strategy: Institutions and Policies in a European Perspective

National security policy, and more specifically the nationalising of security policy, has been competing with an increasing recognition that many security problems are transnational in nature and can only be tackled in cooperative efforts. Yet, while the EU has given institutional expression to such cooperative efforts, its member states, especially since 9/11 and similar attacks in the UK and Spain for example, have to some extent begun to emphasise more strongly the need for a national security policy/strategy/doctrine.

This raises important questions in relation to the incorporation and implementation of the human security concept in the actual practice of security policy at the national and supra-national levels:

1.             To what extent is the concept of human security reflected in national/EU security strategies/doctrines? Is it a guiding principle or merely peripheral? Especially, can the "holistic approach” advocated by the European security strategy be usefully conceptualised through the human security lens?

2.             Are the uses of the concept compatible across individual states and between states and the EU? Is there a trend of convergence or divergence in the use of the concept? What are the causes and consequences of either trend?

3.             How do notions of human security in national and EU security strategies/doctrines translate into policy practice and with what consequences for the implementation and success of security policy? In particular, do external policies more broadly reflect human security priorities set, if applicable, by security strategies/doctrines—putting into practice a "holistic approach”—or is their implementation guided by a set of different priorities (and are these in line with notions of human security)?

Against the background of these developments, during this conference we conduct a thorough analysis of EU security strategy and policy and the national security strategies and policies of the countries of participating scholars. We will examine the process of formulating security strategies and their implementation, the interaction between respective processes at national and EU levels, and the results of security policy implementation in discreet cases.

Our core objectives with this conference are to stimulate interdisciplinary cross-national research and knowledge transfer in the area of human security in EU foreign and security policy and democratic security governance between universities, research institutions, think-tanks and security organizations in EU member states and non-EU countries (participants will be representatives of the EU countries and the CIS), to establish and examine the theoretical and methodological grounding of security sector reform in countries through the review of key concepts, public policy documents and implementation approaches, to challenge where necessary the existing orthodoxies in the related academic subjects locally, regionally and internationally, to build networks and enhance cooperation between experts and institutions, dealing with security policy and to encourage collaborative research projects on new important topics.

The empirical component of this conference focuses on the process of formulating security strategies and their implementation, the interaction between respective processes at national and EU levels, and explanation of variations in institutional change in the national security sectors of the countries of participating scholars.

Methodologically, the conference will be open to, and provide a forum for, research papers based on both qualitative and quantitative approaches, focusing on enabling participating scholars to understand the utility of particular approaches to the security policy in the context of different topics of study and giving them opportunities to develop efficient and effective approaches to incorporating results of research based on these methodological approaches into their teaching practice, and in turn select appropriate methods to generate findings that are ‘user-friendly’ for specific research and policy tasks. Practically, the conference helps to better understand the human security problems in EU and, in particularly, in EU neighbourhood that arise from defects in democracy and a politically unstable state, and thereby posing the risk of disintegration and regional conflict.

This is both an intellectually coherent approach within the wider academic field of EU security studies and appropriate for the project’s aims of training participating faculty in the subject matter and of translating their knowledge and skills in this area into effective and outcome-oriented curricula.

The conference’s participants are faculty in European Security Studies, post-doctoral and advanced doctoral level students, young practitioners from civil society groups, and policy staff from national governments and international organisations.

The project gives preference to the junior faculty (PhD holders or PhD students at the advanced stage of their research) with a strong background in European Studies, Political Sciences and International Relations, including Security Studies as well as History, Economics and Law. Our selection criteria will include high-quality research and teaching potential, motivation, and long term interests in the field of European Security Studies.

A particular effort will be made to give individuals from countries with intra-state conflicts and limited access to such type of activity (e.g. from Central Asia) the opportunity to meet and discuss the challenges facing their countries.