For some forty five years the grand narrative of the Cold War shaped our understanding of security. However, recent events have shown that the narrow military focus of the realist security paradigm cannot adequately address the ever-diversifying range of non-state, trans-border security threats which have emerged in the post Cold War era and which stem from the onset of globalisation.
This dissertation argues that, in light of the failure of recent attempts to address security concerns by recourse to military intervention - the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as part of a global ‘war on terror' for example - there is a pressing need to adopt an alternative security framework. This study adopts a qualitative methodology, this approach having been deemed most suitable for the analysis of the body of literature which informs this study. The process by which one particular issue is incorporated into security discourse ("securitisation") is examined through the lens of the case study of cross-border migration. The use of a case study will provide the necessary context and specificity to complement our analysis of the theoretical aspects of the security debate.
The dissertation concludes that the human security framework certainly enriches the security debate at the present moment of relative stability but would prove less useful in the event of a resurgence of military threats, when the realist paradigm would be better equipped to offer explanations of actor behaviour. It is also concluded that the human security framework will be better able to cope with the change that will characterise the decades ahead, rather than a rigid and inflexible realist security narrative.
Rachel Carlill is a recent graduate from the University of Manchester's Institute of Development Policy and Management (IDPM) and studied MA International Development: Social Policy and Social Development.