Security and Self: Reflections of a Fallen Realist

Ken Booth

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


Personal experience has always been an explicit feature of feminist theorising. Making sense of one's own life has been seen as a way of making sense of the lives of others. The personal, the political, and the international are a seamless web. In this chapter I want to make some reflections, in a similar spirit, about self, profession and world politics. Instead of purporting to describe or explain the world 'out there', as is one's professional training, I want to reflect on the world 'in here'—as 'part of our innermost being' (Berger, 1966, p.140). This is academically and temperamentally a somewhat difficult thing to do. It is especially out of line with the traditions of several decades of strategic studies, which involved 'telling it as it is'—'it' begin a realist account of the purported state(s) of the world. As a profession, security specialists have not been particularly self-reflective. We have sometimes been invited to think the unthinkable, yet 'we' have been out of bounds. At what is thought to be a period of `intellectual crisis' in `security studies', `we' should not be. For most of us we are our last and most difficult frontier. Hence the personal nature of this paper, which attempts at the same time to confuse and clarify what it means to study `security' at the end of the twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of York
Commissioning bodyCanada York University
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1994


Dive into the research topics of 'Security and Self: Reflections of a Fallen Realist'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this