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The Pre-History of Human Security

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In this article, I examine the historical roots of the idea of human security. I first discuss proto-ideas concerning the state and security in the classical and medieval periods. I then move to an examination of the normative theories surrounding the emergence of the modern state (notably absolutism and liberal constitutionalism). This is followed by consideration of the rising role of nationalism and national security in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I conclude with a comment on the gradual evolution of norms and practices relevant to human security in the first half of the twentieth century.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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