Security and Inequality

Andrew Hurrell

in Inequality, Globalization, and World Politics

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780198295662
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599521 | DOI:
 Security and Inequality

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Examines the paradoxical and problematical relationship between inequality and security. It begins by looking at the classical state system, in which inequality was central not only to the genesis of insecurity (primarily because the ‘natural’ inequalities among states fostered power‐political competition and thus fuelled the security dilemmas that inevitably ensued), but also to its management and limitation. Considers how this traditional picture has been challenged. Whilst old‐style threats have by no means disappeared (especially at the regional level), the security agenda has expanded to take in a range of new threats in which inequality plays an operative role in fomenting violence. Concludes by discussing the implications of inequality for international security management today. It considers but rejects the argument that the recentralization of military power, whether conceived as the expression of a new international order or neo‐imperialism, can provide the basis for a stable and sustainable security order. However, while the old bases for security management, in which inequality played such a central role, have been undermined, they have not been replaced by anything more secure or reliable.

Keywords: inequality; security management

Chapter.  9262 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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