Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
New Research Initiatives in Humanities and Social Sciences
Domain II - (1) Advanced Studies for Building Peace

back to Homepage

Japanese / English      sitemap

 Home >> Intel' Symposium "Post-9.11 World" Toppage >> Preamble

International Symposium
Political Violence and Human Security in the Post-9.11 World


"Human security" is a term overused and often misused in the media today. A better understanding of this concept is crucial to peacemaking. In this symposium we will examine the nature of political violence and re-evaluate the concept of human security in the post-9.11 world .

It is widely argued that the events of 9.11 triggered fundamental changes in both international politics and international law. Violence drastically increased throughout the world following the United States and its allies' preemptive attacks against Afghanistan and Iraq. Nation-states and sub-national groups all over the world are now struggling for legitimacy by calling on their military and paramilitary forces, although the former overwhelms the latter in most cases. The chain of violence seems to have no end; overruling political violence by more political violence never achieves "security" in itself.

The people's hope of finding a solution to the increasing political unrest in the past ten years has been the major driving force in the global circulation of the term "human security". This new catchword was first used by the UNDP to promote sustainable human development. A totally new type of peace-building program was launched, emphasizing the viewpoints of refugees and other people suffering from the ravages of war, instead of those of policy-makers and military generals. However, along with the wide usage of this term within circles including governmental administrations, the idea of "human security", which focuses on the security of individual human lives, is vulnerable to being absorbed into the classic notion of "national security", which considers governmental interests first and foremost. Political discourse, for instance, may even refer to "waging war for the sake of human security", which is paradoxical in terms of our discussion here. This dichotomy may be clarified by first asking ourselves what causes "human insecurity."

In Session 1, "terrorism", a term unilaterally used by the state to designate political violence by organizations outside of the government, will be analyzed theoretically from a sociopolitical point of view. This problematic word is deeply misleading public opinion in the world today by being identified indiscriminately with all kinds of violence by sub-national groups against governmental organizations and their military forces.

In Session 2, we will discuss extreme cases of "human insecurity" in modern history, examining the nature of political violence in the pre-9.11 world. Systems of differentiating the self from the other and of creating enemies will be paid special attention to in the papers. We will also discuss the causes of mass-killings.

Session 3 will look closely at Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, where human security has been most severely devastated by the United States and its allies since the 9.11 events. We will discuss which aspects of this political violence have changed and which have stayed the same in the past three years.

In Session 4, which is based on the former sessions, the concept of human security will be redefined as a peacemaking strategy of the post-9.11 world, discussing the possibility of overcoming political confrontations without resorting to violence.



▲Return to Top▲


Upcoming Events | Event Reports
Home | about us | contact us | Link

copyright (c) 2004-2006 Human Security Studies, All rights reserved.