Racism and Security Studies

In August 2019 the security studies journal Security Dialogue published the article ‘Is Securitization Theory Racist? Civilizationism, Methodological Whiteness, and Antiblack Thought in the Copenhagen School’ by Alison Howell and Melanie Richter-Montpetit.

The article makes strong claims about the ‘foundational role of racist thought in securitization theory’, claiming that it is ‘structured not only by Eurocentrism but also by civilizationism, methodological whiteness, and antiblack racism’ 

Due to the seriousness of these accusations and the exceptionally flawed analysis underpinning them, Ole Wæver and Barry Buzan as the main architects behind securitization theory have written a reply in two versions. A short 4.000 word version is published in Security Dialogue, OnlineFirst as of May 15th. A link is found below. In addition, a much longer version is found on the present webpage only. It is long, both because it often takes more to disprove a false proposition than to make it – and there are many of them in this article – and because the longer text goes beyond a pure refutation to more constructive suggestions for eg. how to deal with structural racism in security studies, what should be the criteria for determining what is ‘foundational’ to a theory, and the responsibilities of a journal in the case of articles of this unusual nature.

Ole Wæver and Barry Buzan would have liked to post here also their lengthy correspondence with the editors of Security Dialogue on this matter. However, the journal would not agree to this.