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Regional Security Complex Theory in the Post-Cold War World

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Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)

Abstract

This chapter explores the problems of using regional analysis to think through the security agenda of the post-Cold War world. It starts with a summary of traditional regional security complex (RSC) theory, with its military-political focus, and its firm regionalizing logic, and looks at how that view is still relevant in the post-Cold War world. Section 2 surveys the changes in the nature of the security agenda, examining the rise of economic and environmental security, with their new types of threat and new referent objects, and the decline in salience of military-political security issues amongst the great powers. Section 3 investigates whether three of the ‘new’ security sectors — economic, environmental, societal — contain a regionalizing logic, and if so, how it works. Section 4 reintegrates the analysis. It looks at the merits of treating sectors separately, or amalgamating them into single, multi-sectoral security complexes.

Keywords

  • European Union
  • Former Soviet Union
  • Regional Security
  • North American Free Trade Agreement
  • Security Agenda

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This chapter is an updated version of Buzan (2000). There has not been space in the update of this chapter (first written in 1996) to incorporate all of the new developments of regional security complex theory. Anyone wanting the full operational version should consult Buzan and Wæver (2003). This update was written before the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9781403938794_8
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© 2003 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

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Buzan, B. (2003). Regional Security Complex Theory in the Post-Cold War World. In: Söderbaum, F., Shaw, T.M. (eds) Theories of New Regionalism. International Political Economy Series. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781403938794_8

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