The Social Construction of Human Security

Luk Van Langenhove, Tiziana Scaramagli

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper


While the world is deeply changing, new metaphors, concepts and ideas arise which are to some extent related to those changes. Such new concepts are introduced as attempts to define and capture these ongoing changes. On the one hand, there is a (changing) social reality while, on the other hand, there are metaphors, concepts, ideas, models or theories used to explain that reality. However, this positivist perspective is challenged by social constructionists, who claim that concepts also have to be regarded as discursive tools. In other words, attempts to explain social reality are, at the same time, active players in constructing the social reality. Consequently, it is important to examine the reasons behind the use of a certain concept.

This paper argues that ‘human security’ is one of those concepts used to construct today’s social reality. It will try to demonstrate that the concept of human security, besides its fundamental content-related importance, also represents a tool used by certain actors to challenge the Westphalian world order and its related security paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

Publication series

NameEU-GRASP Working Papers


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