Knowledgebase

Number of results: 252

The Ethical Subject of Security - Geopolitical Reason and the Threat Against Europe

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Routledge
Abstract: 

While critical security studies largely concentrates on objects of security, this book focuses on the subject position from which ‘securitization’ and other security practices t

ake place. First, it argues that the modern subject itself emerges and is sustained as a function of security and insecurity. It suggests, consequently, that no analytic frame can produce or reproduce the subject in some original or primordial form that does not already reproduce a fundamental or structural insecurity. It critically returns, through a variety of studies, to traditionally held conceptions of security and insecurity as simple predicates or properties that can be associated or not to some more essential, more primeval, more true or real subject. It thus opens and explores the question of the security of the subject itself, locating, through a reconstruction of the foundations of the concept of security, in the modern conception of the subject, an irreducible insecurity. Second, it argues that practices of security can only be carried out as a certain kind of negotiation about values. The analyses in this book find security expressed again and again as a function of value cast in terms of an explicit or implicit philosophy of life, of culture, of individual and collective anxieties and aspirations, of expectations about what may be sacrificed and what is worth preserving. By way of a critical examination of the value function of security, this book discovers the foundation of values as dependent on a certain management of their own vulnerability, continuously under threat, and thus fundamentally and necessarily insecure.

Social Norms in the Aftermath of Ethnic Violence - Ethnicity and Fairness in Non-costly Decision Making

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Journal of Conflict Resolution, 58 (1): 93-119
Abstract: 

This study considers prospects for the revitalization of social norms after ethnic violence using a behavioral experiment in postwar Bosnia.

In the experiment, subjects are asked to distribute a ten-unit monetary sum between two anonymous recipients of random ethnicity. The results indicate a surprisingly high number of egalitarian distributions across ethnicity, which is interpreted as evidence of a norm of fairness. Discriminating behavior in the experiment is explained as a product of ethnic parochialism (rewarding co-ethnics and punishing non-co-ethnics). Overall, the experiment speaks to the resiliency of an important aspect of pro-social behavior after violence—impartiality in the treatment of others.

The Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict (2nd Edition)

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Routledge
Abstract: 

A definitive global survey of the interaction of ethnicity, nationalism and politics, this handbook blends rigorous theoretically grounded analysis with empirically rich illustrations to provide a

state-of-the-art overview of the contemporary debates on one of the most pervasive international security challenges today. Fully updated for the second edition, the book includes a new section which offers detailed analyses of contemporary cases of conflict such as in Ukraine, Kosovo, the African Great Lakes region and in the Kurdish areas across the Middle East, thus providing accessible examples that bridge the gap between theory and practice. The contributors offer a 360-degree perspective on ethnic conflict: from the theoretical foundations of nationalism and ethnicity to the causes and consequences of ethnic conflict, and to the various strategies adopted in response to it. 

A geographic approach for combining social media and authoritative data towards identifying useful information for disaster management

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 29 (4): 667-689
Abstract: 

In recent years, social media emerged as a potential resource to improve the management of crisis situations such as disasters triggered by natural hazards.

Although there is a growing research body concerned with the analysis of the usage of social media during disasters, most previous work has concentrated on using social media as a stand-alone information source, whereas its combination with other information sources holds a still underexplored potential. This article presents an approach to enhance the identification of relevant messages from social media that relies upon the relations between georeferenced social media messages as Volunteered Geographic Information and geographic features of flood phenomena as derived from authoritative data (sensor data, hydrological data and digital elevation models). We apply this approach to examine the micro-blogging text messages of the Twitter platform (tweets) produced during the River Elbe Flood of June 2013 in Germany. This is performed by means of a statistical analysis aimed at identifying general spatial patterns in the occurrence of flood-related tweets that may be associated with proximity to and severity of flood events. The results show that messages near (up to 10 km) to severely flooded areas have a much higher probability of being related to floods. In this manner, we conclude that the geographic approach proposed here provides a reliable quantitative indicator of the usefulness of messages from social media by leveraging the existing knowledge about natural hazards such as floods, thus being valuable for disaster management in both crisis response and preventive monitoring.

Emergency response in natural disaster management: Allocation and scheduling of rescue units

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
European Journal of Operational Research, 235 (3): 697-708
Abstract: 

Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes, cause tremendous harm each year.

In order to reduce casualties and economic losses during the response phase, rescue units must be allocated and scheduled efficiently. As this problem is one of the key issues in emergency response and has been addressed only rarely in literature, this paper develops a corresponding decision support model that minimizes the sum of completion times of incidents weighted by their severity. The presented problem is a generalization of the parallel-machine scheduling problem with unrelated machines, non-batch sequence-dependent setup times and a weighted sum of completion times – thus, it is NP-hard. Using literature on scheduling and routing, we propose and computationally compare several heuristics, including a Monte Carlo-based heuristic, the joint application of 8 construction heuristics and 5 improvement heuristics, and GRASP metaheuristics. Our results show that problem instances (with up to 40 incidents and 40 rescue units) can be solved in less than a second, with results being at most 10.9% up to 33.9% higher than optimal values. Compared to current best practice solutions, the overall harm can be reduced by up to 81.8%.

Reconceptualising Cyber Security: Safeguarding Human Rights in the Era of Cyber Surveillance

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism, 6 (2): 32-40
Abstract: 

The cyber security discourse is dominated by states and corporations that focus on the protection of critical information infrastructure and databases.

The priority is the security of information systems and networks, rather than the protection of connected users. The dominance of war metaphors in the cyber security debates has produced a security dilemma, which is not sufficiently addressing the needs of people. This article underlines this shortcoming and views cyber security through a human-centric perspective. Freedom of expression and the right to privacy are under attack in the era of cyber surveillance. From a human-centric perspective such rights should be understood as a critical part of cyber security. Human rights protections need to be effectively addressed in the digital sphere and gain their place in the cyber security agendas.

Juggling the Balance between Preventive Security and Human Rights in Europe

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Security and Human Rights, 26 (2-4): 126-146
Abstract: 

Within the European Union (EU), security issues are increasingly framed as risks and threats that can be controlled by preventive measures.

The EU has established several agencies, legal instruments and databases to facilitate the prevention of crime, terrorism and irregular migration. This article takes stock of the way in which the EU seeks to balance the preventive security logic with its own human rights framework. While human rights can jointly be considered an evolving normative framework in the EU, there is a need to identify which human rights are at risk and how (non-) compliance ought to be monitored.The article states some concerns about equal access to human rights as well as the lack of a strong general oversight mechanism. Continued structural attention should be given to ex ante human-rights impact assessments and there needs to be more emphasis on regular external evaluations of human rights compliance ex post facto. In relation to the external action of the EU, the EU must practice what it preaches and needs to reflect critically on the necessity and proportionality of precautionary security measures.

Conflicting messages? The IPCC on conflict and human security

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
Political Geography, 43: 82-90
Abstract: 

Violence seems to be on a long-term decline in the international system.

The possibility that climate change would create more violent conflict was mentioned in scattered places in the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2001 and 2007 respectively. The empirical literature testing for relationships between climate change and various forms of conflict has undergone a major expansion since then. The report from Working Group II of the Fifth Assessment Report contains a much more careful assessment of the climate change-conflict nexus. The Human security chapter reports high agreement and robust evidence that human security will be progressively threatened as the climate changes. But as far as the impact on armed conflict is concerned, it paints a balanced picture, concluding that while individual studies vary in their conclusions, ‘collectively the research does not conclude that there is a strong positive relationship between warming and armed conflict’. The chapter also argues that climate change is likely to have an influence on some known drivers of conflict, and this point is reiterated in other chapters as well as the Technical summary and the Summary for policymakers. A chapter on ‘Emergent trends …’ has a somewhat more dramatic conclusion regarding a climate-conflict link, as does the Africa chapter, while a methods chapter on ‘Detection and attribution’ dismisses the climate-change-to-violence link. The entire report is suffused with terms like ‘may’, ‘has the potential to’, and other formulations without any indication of a level of probability. Overall, the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC does not support the view that climate change is an important threat to the long-term waning of war. Still, the report opens up for conflicting interpretations and overly alarmist media translations.

Societal Security and Social Psychology

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Review of International Studies, 29 (2): 249-268
Abstract: 

The concept of societal security as developed by the Copenhagen school has three underlying weaknesses: a tendency to reify societies as independent social agents, a use of too vague a definition o

f ‘identity’, and a failure to demonstrate sufficiently that social security matters to individuals. This article shows that applying social identity theory to the societal security concept helps remedy these weaknesses and closes the theoretical gaps that the Copenhagen school has left open. It enables us to treat ‘society’ as an independent variable without reifying it as an independent agent. It also suggests a much sharper definition of identity, and a rationale for the Copenhagen school's claim that individuals have a psychological need to achieve societal security by protecting their group boundaries. Social identity theory thus supports the societal security concept in its central assumptions while giving it stronger theoretical foundations and greater analytical clout.

Big Data and smart devices and their impact on privacy

Document type: 
Report
Publisher / Publication: 
Directorate General for Internal Policies: Policy Department C: Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)
Abstract: 

The numerous debates triggered by the increased collection and processing of personal data for various - and often unaccountable - purposes are particularly vivid at the EU level.

Two interlinked, and to some extent conflicting, initiatives are relevant here: the development of EU strategies promoting a data-driven economy and the current reform of the EU personal data protection legal framework in the context of the adoption of a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In this context, and focusing on the development of Big Data practices, smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), this Study shows that the high degree of opacity of many contemporary data processing activities directly affects the right of the individuals to know what is being done with the data collected about them. This Study argues that the promotion of a data- driven economy should not underestimate the challenges raised for privacy and personal data protection and that strengthening the rights of digital citizens should be the main focus of the current debates around the GDPR. 

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