Human Security: Asian Perspectives


Giorgeandrea SHANI

Credits / Language / Semester

2Credits / English / Summer


Human Security represents a ‘widening’ (to take on non-military threats) and ‘deepening’ (to go beyond the nation-state) of security intended in part to cope with the problems caused by globalization. This is evident in the ground-breaking 1994 Human Development Report which helped popularize the term within the academic and policy communities. This ‘broader’ approach to human security was effectively eschewed by the international community in the 1990s as a ‘narrower’ approach was favored which attempted to ‘protect’ the individual from external threats to their ‘physical security or safety’ (Human Security Report 2005). An attempt was subsequently made to synthesize both the ‘narrow’ and ‘broad’ approaches through the establishment of the Commission on Human Security (CHS), headed by Amartya Sen and Sadako Ogata. Human Security, the authors of the Final report argued, needed to take into account ‘freedom from want, freedom from fear and freedom to take action on one's own behalf’ (CHS 2003). The objective of Human Security, it was argued, should be to protect ‘the vital core of all human lives in ways that enhance human freedoms and human fulfillment’ (CHS 2003). This conception of Human Security was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012.

This course seeks to critically evaluate some of the tensions which lie at the ‘vital core’ of Human Security in an age of globalization. Students will be introduced to theoretical debates about globalization and its impact on human identity and security. Next, ‘narrow’ and ‘broad’ approaches to Human Security will be outlined and, finally students will be introduced to the central features of a ‘Critical Human Security Perspective’ (Shani, Sato and Pasha 2007, Shani 2011). Students will then be expected to research and present on a topic related to the course using a regional or empirical case study from the Asia-Pacific region (including Japan).

The primary aims of the course are as follows:
1. To introduce students to theoretical debates on globalization and its impact on individual identity and security;
2. To outline different and competing approaches to Human Security: “narrow”, “broad” and “critical;”
3. To get students to research a topic related to the course using an empirical case study from the Asia-Pacific region;
4. To allow students to present their research in class.
5. To encourage students to develop their writing skills by getting them to write up their research in the form of the essay.


Human Security, Asia-Pacific, Globalization, Religion, Identity


1.Overview of the course (Lecture)
2.Globalization and Identity (Lecture)
3.Globalization, Peace and Conflict (Lecture)
4.Human Security: The Narrow Approach (Lecture)
5.Human Security: The Broad Approach (Lecture)
6.Critical Perspectives on Human Security (Lecture)
7.Human Security in Crisis? (Lecture)
8.Human In/Security in South Asia (Lecture/Presentations)
9.Human In/Security in South East Asia (Seminar/Presentations)
10.Human In/Security in the Islamic World (Seminar/Presentations)
11.Human In/Security in East Asia (Seminar/Presentations)
12.Human In/Security in Japan After 3.11 (Seminar/Presentations)
13.Human Security: Asian Perspectives (Lecture)

Teaching Methods

1. Lectures (Weeks 1-8, 13)
2. Student Presentations (Weeks 8-12)


1. Essay (3,000+ words) 70%
2. Student Presentations 30%

All students are required to make a presentation and write an essay based on a regional case study of their choice by the final class. The essay should be approximately 3,000-5,000 words.

Required Textbooks

Two textbooks are recommended:

1. Giorgio Shani, Makoto Sato, and Mustapha Kamal Pasha (eds.) Protecting Human Security in a Post 9/11 World (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2007) ISBN 02300064;
2. Mustapha Kamal Pasha (ed) Globalization, Identity and Human Security (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013) ISBN:978-0-415-706551

Reference Books

1.David Chandler and Niklas Hynek, eds., Critical Perspectives on Human Security: Discourses of Emancipation and Regimes of Power (Abingdon: Routledge 2010)
2.Mark Duffield. Development, Security and Unending War: Governing the World of Peoples (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007)
3.International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect, International Development Research Center, December 2001 (Report of the Commission)
4.Yukiko Ishikawa Human Security in South East Asia (Abingdon: Routledge 2012)
5. Anthony G. McGrew and Nana Poku (eds) Globalization, Development and Human Security (Cambridge: Polity 2007).
6.Kinhide Mushakoji (ed.) Human (In) Security in the Network of Global Cities (Chubu: Centre for Human Security Studies, 2009).
7.Sadako Ogata and Amartya Sen, Human Security Now (Final Report of the Commission on Human Security) (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
8. Sorpong Peou(ed.) Human Security in East Asia: Challenges for Collaborative Action (Abingdon: Routledge 2012)
9. Giorgio Shani Religion, Identity and Human Security (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014)
10.Shahrbanou Tajbakhsh and Anuradha Chenoy Human Security: Concepts and Implications (London: Routledge 2008)

Notes on Taking the Course

After being introduced to the concept of Human Security, Students will be required to participate in class discussion and present their research on the Asia-Pacific region in class.

Related Websites

Miscellaneous Information

Information about the lecturer can be found below:

Dr. Giorgio Shani
Director, Social Science Research Institute,
Department of Politics and International Relations,
International Christian University,

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