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Towards a new societal security dilemma: comprehensive analysis of actor responsibility in intersocietal conflicts

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Ali Bilgic
Publisher / Publication: 
Review of International Studies, 39 (1): 185-208

Scholars of the societal security dilemma implicitly or explicitly aim to analyse actor responsibility in intersocietal group confrontations.

However, adherence of these approaches to (neo-)realist theoretical assumptions of the security dilemma hinders this objective. This article provides analytical principles upon which a new societal security dilemma can be constructed in order to conduct a more comprehensive analysis of actor responsibility. A new societal security dilemma framework can be built upon three principles: (1) a security dilemma results in violence depending on how the actors themselves interpret the political structure in which they interact with others; (2) differentiation of actors' intentions as malign or benign is inconsequential; what matters is how actors interpret security and which tools they choose to adopt to achieve security; and (3) identity is not exogenous to the politics of security. Adopting these principles requires reconceptualisation of the security dilemma. It will be argued that a new societal security, which reflects the politics of security, can provide a more comprehensive, dynamic, political, and realistic analysis of actor responsibility in societal-level confrontations. These new principles will be illustrated through re-reading of the dissolution of Yugoslavia to analyse actor responsibility as a sketch of the new societal security dilemma theorising.

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