Liberalism(s) and the critical securitization of development debate

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The securitization of development theme has developed substantially since the late 1990s within the critical global governance literature. To varying degrees contributors to this debate argue that a liberal global governance complex links the discourses of security and development in what is described as the ‘security-development nexus’, such that the South is conceived as an international security threat. Whilst the security-development nexus itself has been thoroughly explored, the use of the central concept of liberalism has not. This paper addresses this issue through demarcating and critiquing the three readings of liberalism relevant to the securitization of development debate. Identifying and elucidating the three distinct strands of liberalism enables this paper to identify several weaknesses within the debate and propose a number of amendments. This includes proposing that the liberal discourse of global governance reflects complexity rather than consensus and that the centrality of ‘liberalism’ is at the expense of a robust investigation into how the structural power of global capitalism underpins the security-development nexus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-376
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Early online date11 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Development
  • Security
  • Global Governance
  • Liberalism
  • Securitization


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