Theory of World Security
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Theory of World Security

3.78 (33 ratings by Goodreads)
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What is real? What can we know? How might we act? This book sets out to answer these fundamental philosophical questions in a radical and original theory of security for our times. Arguing that the concept of security in world politics has long been imprisoned by conservative thinking, Ken Booth explores security as a precious instrumental value which gives individuals and groups the opportunity to pursue the invention of humanity rather than live determined and diminished lives. Booth suggests that human society globally is facing a set of converging historical crises. He looks to critical social theory and radical international theory to develop a comprehensive framework for understanding the historical challenges facing global business-as-usual and for planning to reconstruct a more cosmopolitan future. Theory of World Security is a challenge both to well-established ways of thinking about security and alternative approaches within critical security studies.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 516 pages
  • 156 x 226 x 31mm | 750g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521543177
  • 9780521543170
  • 566,499

Table of contents

Part I. Context: 1. Present imperfect: future tense; 2. Thinking theory critically; Part II. Theory: 3. Security, emancipation, community; 4. Deepening, broadening, reconstructing; 5. Being, knowing, doing; 6. The world, the world; Part III. Dimensions: 7. Business-as-usual; 8. Who will own the twenty-first century?; Part IV. Futures: 9. The new twenty years' crisis; 10. A long hot century.
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Review quote

'This visionary book distils and presents a radical refocussing of the security studies field ...Never before have I read a book so grounded in the realities of 21st century world politics and at the same time so visionary regarding the ways the key problems should be dealt with.' Hayward R. Alker 'At last the monograph is published which will allow students of international security to assess the critical thought of one of the foremost scholars in the field - hitherto available to us only in the bits and pieces of journals and book chapters. The breadth of learning, the characteristic liveliness and immediacy of Booth's writing, and the skill in marshalling facts and analysis into a forceful argument, make for a major challenge to the conventional approach to security studies.' Bill McSweeney, Trinity College Dublin 'Ken Booth takes us way beyond critical security thinking. He takes us, his lucky readers, to innovative, fresh and downright energizing security thinking! Theory of World Security shows what good things can happen intellectually if one starts one's theorizing about security from the bottom up.' Cynthia Enloe, author of Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link (2007) 'After being for a generation an inspirational figure for the new discourse of Critical Security Studies, Ken Booth has now produced his own account of the field. Predictably, it does not always make for comfortable reading; Booth's pessimism about the state we're in disturbs as it is intended to - but this is not simply a threnody for a world gone wrong, it is also a call to action. This is a book that will be a key reference point for anyone who aspires to contribute to the discourse in the future. An exemplary piece of activist scholarship.' Chris Brown, London School of Economics 'If Nobel Prizes were given in international relations Ken Booth would deserve one for this extraordinary book. We have long awaited such a magisterial approach to world security, and here it is, at once learned and lively, as well as clearing the way toward an emancipatory future for world order thinking and practice.' Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law, Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara '...proposes a new theoretical framework that provides for greater human health and happiness than any 'business-as-usual' approach currently in vogue.' Survival '... [Ken Booth] is heterodox to the traditions of International Relations as an academic study ... Booth reminds us of the huge gap between the haves and the have-nots ... [his] attempt at a global reach is admirable ...' Planet 'This book is a masterpiece: a comprehensive, thoughtful investigation of world security and those who attempt to explain it. Brilliantly written, the book is breathtaking in its sweep ... an erudite guide for normative behaviour based on a thorough and comprehensive understanding of world history, philosophy and an appreciation for the multiple levels upon which security is currently both threatened and protected. ... a book that all practitioners and students of world security ... would benefit from studying closely.' International Affairs "This visionary book distills and presents a radical refocussing of the security studies field by the leader of the Aberystwyth School of critical security studies. Taking his cue from the Frankfurt School, Booth argues that world politics is truly the Enlightenment's most significant unfinished business. In a book of tremendous erudition and wisdom, he reasserts a humane, democratic version of Enlightenment values and critical analysis of the leading problems of our age: political and economic inequalities, ethnic differences, racism, conflict-prone societies and movements, population pressures and environmental challenges. Never before have I read a book so grounded in the realities of 21st Century World Politics and at the same time so visionary regarding the ways the key problems should be dealt with."
Hayward R. Alker, University of Southern California and Watson Institute, Brown University "Ken Booth takes us way beyond critical security thinking. He takes us, his lucky readers, to innovative, fresh and downright energizing security thinking! Theory of World Security shows what good things can happen intellectually if one starts one's theorizing about security from the bottom up."
Cynthia Enloe, author of Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link (2007) "If Nobel Prizes were given in international relations Ken Booth would deserve one for this extraordinary book. We have long awaited such a magisterial approach to world security, and here it is, at once learned and lively, as well as clearing the way toward an emancipatory future for world order thinking and practice."
Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law, Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara "At last the monograph is published which will allow students of international security to assess the critical thought of one of the foremost scholars in the field - hitherto available to us only in the bits and pieces of journals and book chapters. The breadth of learning, the characteristic liveliness and immediacy of Booth's writing, and the skill in marshalling facts and analysis into a forceful argument, make for a major challenge to the conventional approach to security studies."
Bill McSweeney, Trinity College Dublin "After being for a generation an inspirational figure for the new discourse of Critical Security Studies, Ken Booth has now produced his own account of the field. Predictably, it does not always make for comfortable reading; Booth's pessimism about the state we're in disturbs as it is intended to - but this is not simply a threnody for a world gone wrong, it is also a call to action. This is a book that will be a key reference point for anyone who aspires to contribute to the discourse in the future. An exemplary piece of activist scholarship."
Chris Brown, London School of Economics
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About Ken Booth

Ken Booth is E. H. Carr Professor in the Department of International Politics at the University of Wales Aberystwyth. He was the first president of the British International Studies Association and is the current editor of International Relations.
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Rating details

33 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 24% (8)
4 42% (14)
3 21% (7)
2 12% (4)
1 0% (0)
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