In the last few years Critical Security Studies (CSS) has emerged as a new approach to the academic study of security. This article argues that its genesis is best understood as a reaction to two developments, namely ‘real world’ changes after the end of the Cold War and the far-reaching philosophical debates that have recently been taking place within the social sciences. The authors argue for a conceptualisation of CSS based on an explicit commitment to human emancipation. They then illustrate their preferred understanding of security through a discussion of Burundi. This case study not only illustrates the theoretical claims of CSS but also serves as a contribution to a more comprehensive understanding of the security issues with which this country and its inhabitants are faced.

Author Bio(s)

Eli Stamnes is completing her doctoral work in the Department of International Politics at the University of Wales Aberystwyth. Her thesis explores the role of the United Nations in promoting alternative conceptions of security.


Burundi, critical security studies (CSS), post-Cold War

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