Tensions Between Securitization and Risk Management Theories in the Fighting Terrorism - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1693 Words
Date:  2022-11-21


The current security discourse across the globe is characterized by tensions. On one side, the fight against global terrorism or ways of dealing with security issues is entirely different as illegal immigration indicates that security appeal is actually a call to an emergency that signifies issues related to existential hazards that needs immediate measures to correct them. On the other side, the language of prevention is becoming popular, and risk management and precautionary approaches are adopted to handle the same issue. Indeed, security is adopted to evoke different measures and to shun them. Therefore, this paper describes tensions that exist between securitization theory and risk management theory in the fight against global terrorism in Islamic charities.

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Copenhagen securitization theory offers a detailed system of dealing with the question of what makes something to be a security challenge. Principally, it recognized security as an act related to speech that causes a particular form of social situation where specific matters are handled in a special viewpoint or politics in which it is easy to apply emergency rules. Therefore, securitization encompasses identification of an existential threat, prescription of a plan of action in connection with the stated perceived risk, and movement of the issue of the danger to a form of emergency politics that sets aside the standard rules controlling the process of making decisions within the society (Bright 2012). Reports indicate that the principal aim of Copenhagen securitization theory was to offer better means beyond the relative virtues of military versus nonmilitary concepts of security to deal with narrow realist focus on military and state threats (Charrett 2009,).

Risk management theory introduces the idea of risk as a contemporary concept that assumes decision making. It explains that risk society has not emerged due to the presence of other dangers or threats in daily lives but due to the de bounding of uncontrollable risks. According to this theory, it is growingly becoming difficult for nations across the globe to safeguard the security of its citizens in the current environment that is full of numerous risks and active mistrust. Therefore, to the solution to global terrorism, financial, and ecological conflicts lie in the cooperation among countries. Principally, this leads to an absurd situation for countries because for them to further achieve their national interests, they must denationalize themselves. For a fact, the global cooperation against terrorism stands a witness to this fact (Corry 2011). For a point, to safeguard their constitutional promise of protecting the lives of its citizens, particularly from global terror threats, numerous nation-states joined hands to fight against global terrorism. Principally, this fact can be ascribed to the fact that it is almost impossible for a single country to fight the numerous connections of terrorism spread across the globe. Indeed, even well-developed countries have to seek support from other countries to win the war on terrorism.

The theory of risk management challenges the reasoning of security described by Copenhagen securitization theory in two aspects. First is the possibility of depending on reactive emergencies approaches while the second is the understanding of insecurity around the concept of threats external to oneself. As claimed by Trombetta (2006), having a security logic that emphasizes on emergencies is a move to accept them and create a space of managing such crises. Drawing from the laisse faire approach used to control global terrorism in the past, he argued that scholars and government agencies were initially not concerned with the prevention of terrorism or eradication of its emergence but instead wanted to allow for their spread to guide and control their effects. Therefore, he summarized that probably the right time has arrived for nation states to work towards the prevention of global terrorism and its impact rather than towards its control. Currently, there are numerous plans for military, medical, and ecological emergencies. However, politics are surrounding their prevention. Principally, within a risk society as stated by the risk management theory, the very likelihood of implementing security practices by evoking crises is questioned. Therefore, by mentioning that current global terrorism or threats are beyond insurability, risk management theory warns against security approaches that allow terrorism to thrive or emergencies to occur. The primary tension is that the security vision of the first modernism as stated by Copenhagen securitization theory was founded on the scientific ideal of making insecure effects and dangers of decisions even more controllable, accidents could still occur because they were believed to be compensable (Amoore & De Goede 2005). Nonetheless, according to risk management theory, the reasoning behind compensation is ignored and is substituted by the concept of precaution through prevention. Therefore, it is difficult for nation-states to either adopt Copenhagen securitization theory or risk management theory to fight against global terrorism especially in Islamic charities.

Another tension between securitization theory and risk management theory concerns the likelihood of escaping threats and is closely connected to the possibility of evoking enemies. Principally, in the global arena, security has been organized by the concept of dangers external to oneself. Risk society seams infused by risks among which individuals can select but cannot detach themselves from it. Further, the risk management theory eradicates all the social differentiation and protective zones around and within countries (Risk Advisory Website 2017). Therefore, risk management theory questions the possibility of handling security especially global terrorism regarding enemies rather than shared threats. Nonetheless, for Copenhagen securitization theory, security encompasses the inscription of enemies together with the logic behind the war. However, for risk management theory, the idea of the enemy is one of the possible leading barriers to the concept of security. Principally, risk management theory states that enemy stereotypes inspire as they establish the relations and the behavioral reasoning of attack and defense, as well as, pro and contra that kills people. Therefore, nation states are torn between evoking enemies or escaping threats in their bid to fight against terrorism.

Diskaya (2013) has claimed that securitization theory is founded on a friend-enemy concept and this collapses with the launch of a risk-security framework. The theory states that the idea of the political takes over a similar place as the idea of security. The theory says that risk management is not an ideal decision that requires a binary opposition between enemy and friend into existence. Necessarily, this argument of securitization theory is biased because the grammar of securitizing speech act is explained by the Copenhagen institution only the presence of existential risk and not an existentially intimidating subject. If not, it would be difficult to witness securitization in all five sectors of society. Environmental threats would be senseless in case friend-enemy concept was essential to securitization. Nonetheless, risk management theory contends that existential threat could also emanate from natural disasters together with other non-intentional sources that fall beyond friend-enemy concept (Aradau &Van Munster 2007). As such, contemporary nation-states need to understand that fighting terrorism entails understanding causes of terrorist activities together with the reasons behind such cowardice acts rather than pointing fingers at the enemies.

More importantly, risk management theory downplays the need for establishing a dangerous object. This point is ignored in the risk management theory, but it is supported in the securitization theory. As defined by securitization theorists, a valued referent object refers to a situation where a security action can be executed in a socially critical way. Principally, in securitization, such an object is assumed to be vital to survival and in mortal and immediate danger (Balzacq & Guzzini 2015). Nonetheless, in the case of a risk management situation, there is no measurable risk and not necessarily an intimidating subject; there is a high possibility that referent object will be left correspondingly vague. This statement was supported by Coker (2014) who argued that the threats that most nation-states experience are diffuse and significantly varied.

Further, the intended targets are countless, and the list of possible weapon or tools is endless as well. This implies that in case all members of a particular population are viewed as potential threats, it is undoubted to note that all other remaining sections of the society are also critical targets. Using referent object for security operations against terror especially in Islamic charities can turn such states into risk communities. Therefore, shifting territorial defense as suggested by securitization theory to risk management as implied by risk management theory means that most nation-states across the globe have become risk communities and therefore, there is need to look for ways of managing the risks as opposed to fighting back.


In conclusion, securitization theory is not well endowed to explain and deal with the growth of security practices based on the elements of risk management theory. Intuitively, securitization theory has the advantage of theorizing the power of discourses and of the word security in changing situations that threaten people's lives. Nonetheless, risk management theory explains what characterizes security, as well as, the confrontational reasoning behind the war. Therefore, these tensions have imposed problematic fixities that make it challenging to understand sector specific and historical understanding of fights against security threats such as terrorism.


Amoore, L. and De Goede, M., 2005. Governance, risk and dataveillance in the war on terror. Crime, law and social change, 43(2-3), pp.149-173.

Balzacq, T. and Guzzini, S., 2015. Introduction: 'What kind of theory-if any-is securitization?'. International Relations, 29(1), pp.97-102.

Bright, J 2012, 'Securitization, terror, and control: towards a theory of the breaking point' Review of International Studies, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 861-879. doi:10.1017/s0260210511000726

Charrett, C 2009, 'A critical application of securitization theory: Overcoming the normative dilemma of writing security. SSRN Electronic Journal, 4-38. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1884149

Coker, C., 2014. Globalization and Insecurity in the Twenty-first Century: NATO and the Management of Risk. Adelphi Paper, no. 345, London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies

Corry, O 2011, 'Securitization and 'Riskification': Second-order Security and the Politics of Climate Change' Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 235-258. doi:10.1177/0305829811419444

Diskaya, A., 2013. Towards a critical securitization theory: the Copenhagen and Aberystwyth schools of security studies. E-International Relations.

Risk Advisory Website, 2017, Banks? de-risking and the effect on Muslim charities| Risk Advisory. Retrieved January 28, 2019, from https://www.riskadvisory.com/news/banks-de-risking-and-the-effect-on-muslim-charities/Trombetta, M.J., 2006. The securitization of the environment and the transformation of security. In Standing Group on International Relations Conference, Turin (pp. 1-22).

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Tensions Between Securitization and Risk Management Theories in the Fighting Terrorism - Essay Sample. (2022, Nov 21). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/tensions-between-securitization-and-risk-management-theories-in-the-fighting-terrorism-essay-sample

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