Into Cerberus' lair : bringing the idea of security to light.

Smith, Graham M. (2005) Into Cerberus' lair : bringing the idea of security to light. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 7 (4). pp. 485-507. ISSN 1467-856X

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Using the motif of Cerberus, the three-headed monster watchdog of Hades, this article attempts to bring ‘security’ to light. Specifically, it addresses two related questions. The primary question is: What does ‘security’ mean?. Here it is argued that ‘security’ is related to ‘order’ and is a reflection not of a positive value in and of itself, but the relative success of any given order to realise its core values in relation to other orders. Therefore, ‘security’ is found to be like Cerberus insofar as it exists not as an independent value or being, but only in relation between two orders. Having located ‘security’ within this conceptual framework, the article then addresses its second question: What are the effects of security?. The motif of Cerberus suggests that security ‘bites’ in three ways: first, that specific measures of security control the members of an order; second, that the identification of security threats reinforce certain persons and structures of the order as being the definers of the order; and finally, that the implementation of certain security measures can change and transform the order itself. In this way the analysis offered here brings ‘security’ to light not only as an inherently political term connected to political values, but to provide foundations for critiquing the rhetorical use of ‘security’ in contemporary political discourse and thought.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
The British Journal of Politics and International Relations
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RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Politics and International Studies
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Deposited On:
25 Mar 2008 14:32
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 00:05