Assessing Human Insecurity Worldwide: The Way to a Human (In)Security Index
Sascha Werthes/Corinne Heaven/Sven Vollnhals | INEF | 2011
The idea of human security has been presented and discussed in international academic and political fora for more than a decade. Yet, despite its popularity, the analytical usefulness as well as the political appropriateness of the concept is frequently criticized. In arguing for and presenting a Human (In)Security Index we address both aspects.
In the first part, we discuss the idea of human security and introduce the reader to the main critique regarding the conceptual usefulness of the idea. Secondly, we reflect on the contested development‐security‐nexus when presenting our conceptual framework. Additionally, we put forward a threshold‐based conceptualization of human security based on the ideas originally presented by Taylor Owen together with Mary Martin. To substantiate the threshold‐based conceptualization we present a multidimensional Human (In)Security Index, allowing to assess respective levels of human (in‐)security. By operationalizing the dimensions of human security and presenting available data for 2008, one of the remaining conceptual challenges is addressed.
We demonstrate how a Human (In)Security Index can be used in the political realm and bring to the fore the potential core threats to human security. This additionally specifies the idea of human security and furthers a differentiation between human security and other related concepts such as human development and human rights.
In sum, we argue that human security as a political idea remains highly relevant. As a political leitmotif, human security is significantly and constructively used and applied in political processes despite or because of its analytical ambiguity.