Gender, race, and the insecurity of 'security'

Maryam Khalid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


‘Security’ is a contested concept in International Relations (IR) and related disciplines. Both in terms of scholarly study and practice, ‘security’ reflects a range of assumptions, knowledges, and concerns about the world and the people in it. Security Studies (SS) emerged as a subfield of IR during the Cold War period, dominated largely by realist understandings of the world. Concerned with what was assumed to be the ‘aggressive’ nature of humans and a state system that was rooted in the anarchical, realists (and later neorealists) were concerned with securing the nation-state from outside the boundaries of the national community. While the field has taken broader approaches to ‘security’ (and other related concerns), the function of the state as protector is largely unproblematized. Engaging with mainstream SS entails acknowledging the field’s relationship with the assumptions and logics of mainstream IR more broadly, and how the logics of SS and security-as-practice interact with broader (historical and contemporary) gendered and racialized discourses of global politics, and ultimately function to enable and perpetuate violence.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of gender and security
EditorsCaron E. Gentry, Laura J. Shepherd, Laura Sjoberg
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781315525082, 9781315525099
ISBN (Print)9781138696211
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Gender
  • Security
  • Postcolonial
  • Race and ethnicity


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