DOI: 10.12924/johs2013.09010029 |Publication Date: 4 September 2013
Doing Justice to Human Security: A Textbook in Tune with its Time
|Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI, USA|
Abstract: I begin this brief review of this important volume with the confession that I have not personally pursued a teaching style that has employed a self-acclaimed textbook for many, many years, preferring to construct courses around monographs, articles and other visual materials. However, were I provided the opportunity to teach a course at the upper division undergraduate level or early gradate level in the subject of human security, this would certainly be the book I would choose (with the caveat introduced below). Alex and Sabina Lautensach have given careful and thoughtful consideration to every aspect of the text: the preface and introduction, written by the editors, lay out both the logic of the text and frame the subject matter that will locate the reader firmly in the midst of the vast challenges that constitute the issue of human security. They do so by emphasizing both the multiple dimensions along which the issue of human security can be located and the inseparable nature of these as they interact with each other in complex ways. In many respects this strikes me as one of the most important contributions to the text—its steady insistence that human security as a construct is in a discursive state of constant emergence, such that in some important ways all its varied dimensions insistently co-vary. To make such a claim is in itself daunting—to demonstrate its validity and mutual engagements through the complex subject matters of its 20 chapters, is a tour de force. Their conclusion is sufficiently rich to stand alone as an illustrative text in other course materials.
Keywords: an appropriate human security textbook; learning outcomes and big ideas