The human in human security: Reassessing conceptual family ties

GÓMEZ, Oscar A. (2012). "The human in human security: Reassessing conceptual family ties" Paper presented at the 9th annual conference of the HDCA, 5-7 September 2012, Jakarta, Indonesia.

This article advances a renewed analytical framework to situate human security among other human concepts—i.e., human development, human rights and human needs. Following the work of Gasper, human needs theory is used as a criterion for comparison, allowing a general view of the concepts while avoiding a priori framing one as a function of the others. The theoretical exploration shows how human security is closer to human rights in its mandate to address threats as opposed to human development and human needs, which focus on values. Human security and human development differ from the other two in that they forego fixed lists because they place a premium on agency and context. The lack of a fixed list shows how human rights and human security differ: the former addresses primarily standard threats, while the latter must address nonstandard threats. No definitive result on the issue of measurement derives from the comparison, but ambiguity in both the definition and the list hinder efforts to achieve consensus on proxies or indices. This study exhorts a deeper engagement of “human” experts with the neglected concept of security to strengthen and provide theoretical grounding to the concept of human security.
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