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(De)Securitisation Theory and Regional Peace: Some Theoretical Reflections and a Case Study on the Way to Stable Peace

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  • Andrea Oelsner
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    Critically taking on the premises of securitisation theory, this paper seeks to establish a dialogue between the theory of (de)securitisation and the theories of stable peace. In order to do this, I study the connection between the processes of (domestic) desecuritisation of regional relations, and stabilisation and consolidation of (regional) peace. I argue that these two seemingly distinct developments in fact constitute two aspects of a single parallel process. The paper focuses on regions that were once zones of negative peace, yet in which states underwent processes of desecuritisation, and succeeded in improving the quality of regional peace. This highlights the existence of different types—qualities—of peace as well as several stages of the process of positive peace construction. I claim that the sequence security?desecuritisation?asecurity constitutes the domestic transformation of intersubjective perceptions of threat, whose external complementation is often the sequence fragile/unstable peace?cold peace?positive peace (stable peace and pluralistic security community), which refers to a bilateral or regional relationship. However, I notice that this correlation, though likely, is not necessary. I identify two stages in this ‘desecuritisation/peace’ process. The first phase is about regional peace stabilisation and the first few steps towards domestic desecuritisation. The second phase involves peace consolidation, expansion of mutual desecuritisation, and growth of mutual trust. Explanations of the mechanisms triggering the process of desecuritisation/stabilisation of regional peace, and those of the expansion of the solidity of this peace are, I argue, of a different nature. The paper explains how the resort to realist International Relations (IR) theory hypotheses and to social constructivist hypotheses helps us to understand the development of these two phases. It also highlights the role of mutual trust in determining the type of peace of a dyad or region. The paper uses the case of Argentina and Brazil to illustrate these theoretical claims.

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    Paper provided by European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS) in its series EUI-RSCAS Working Papers with number 27.

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    Date of creation: 13 Oct 2005
    Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0165
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