From a critical security studies perspective is the concept of human security something which should be taken seriously? Does human security have anything significant to offer security studies? Both human security and critical security studies challenge the state-centric orthodoxy of conventional international security, based upon military defence of territory against threats. Both also challenge neorealist scholarship, and involve broadening and deepening the security agenda. Yet critical security studies have not engaged substantively with human security as a distinct approach to non-traditional security. This article explores the relationship between human security and critical security studies and considers why human security arguments have not made a significant impact in critical security studies. The article suggests a number of ways in which critical and human security studies might engage. In particular, it suggests that human security scholarship must go beyond its (mostly) uncritical conceptual underpinnings if it is to make a lasting impact upon security studies, and this might be envisioned as Critical Human Security Studies (CHSS).
Peacebuilding activities in conflict-prone and post-conflict countries are based upon the assumption that effective, preferably liberal, states form the greatest prospect for a stable international order, and that failing or conflict-prone states represent a threat to international security. Peacebuilding is therefore a part of the security agenda. This has brought obvious benefits, most obviously much-needed resources, aid and capacity-building to conflict-prone countries in the form of international assistance, which has contributed to a decline in intrastate conflicts. However, there are a number of negative implications to the securitization of peacebuilding. This article considers the implications of this, and concludes that it is difficult to mediate between conventional and critical views of peacebuilding since they are premised upon quite different assumptions regarding what peacebuilding is and what it should be.