Redefining International Peace and Security? The Discourses and Practices of Multilateral Security Activity
This paper attempts to make a modest contribution to building a research agenda in two ways. It is organized around three "optics" (or logics) of "international peace and security," which serve as a basis for organizing and understanding the various stances that have been adopted. The three stances can be provisionally called international security as "stability," as "order," and as "justice." These terms of course resonate with other meanings in International Relations, and they are not the only way in which these positions could be characterized. But these three categories serve as a useful basis for a discussion of three sets of questions or issues in the debate on "new concepts of security," each of which in turn invoke ontological, epistemological, and prescriptive claims: what are the central tenets and foundation of its security weltanschauung (security from what, for whom, to protect what, and by what means)?; what sort of prima facie evidence exists that the concepts and practices of security in the multilateral arena might be changing (and how would one study this question)?; and what emerges from this account as the desirable scope of multilateral action (i.e., what are its prescriptive commitments)? Although these questions are couched in theoretical terms, this is not primarily a conceptual paper; many such contributions to the debate have already been published, and my purpose is to move towards a research program that could address some of the issues these raise. The analysis instead helps orient the study of changing multilateral practices surrounding security, and offers a preliminary assessment of the current evidence.