Ciută, F (2010) Conceptual Notes on Energy Security: Total or Banal Security? Security Dialogue , 41 (2) 123 - 144. 10.1177/0967010610361596.
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Energy security has received remarkably little conceptual attention, despite an abundant literature where various meanings of the term proliferate together with a copious proxy terminology. This article attempts to clear this conceptual underbrush, and address the question: in what sense is energy a security issue? Using evidence from academic and policy-related sources, the article demonstrates that three distinct logics of energy security are currently in circulation: a logic of war, a logic of subsistence, and a “total” security logic. These distinct logics carry different meanings of energy and security, embed political hierarchies, and have distinct vocabularies, policy vehicles, and normative consequences. Yet affixing energy to security affects not only energy policy, but also on the manner in which we understand security itself. At least potentially, the ubiquity of energy as a “prime mover” makes security ubiquitous, and thus blurs the boundaries that have made it a domain of specialist knowledge and practice. By making security politically unexceptional and “total”, energy can thus strip security of its precise meaning, rendering it banal and vacuous. Taking a contextual perspective that emphasises conceptual variation and the participation of lay actors in producing the meaning of security, the article rejects the banalization of security, and discusses the normative and political problems inherent in any totalizing view of the kind latent in energy security.
|Title:||Conceptual Notes on Energy Security: Total or Banal Security?|
|Keywords:||energy, security, concepts, context, banal security, total security|
|UCL classification:||UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES (School of Slavonic and East European Studies) > SSEES - Department of Social Sciences|
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