Home » Uncategorized » Book Review: Kaldor, Mary (2007): Human Security: Reflections on Globalization and Intervention, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Book Review: Kaldor, Mary (2007): Human Security: Reflections on Globalization and Intervention, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.


This stimulating book stipulates the evolution of humanitarian intervention and heridea on human security as a paradigm. It also includes essays that explained the impact of globalization on the emerging shift of traditional to human security. She regarded human security as an encompassing notion that includes both securitization and development. Further, this new paradigm involves interrelated types of security from health, economic, political to environment. She doesn’t want to use the term humanitarian intervention because according to him it’s a narrow way of looking human security by calculating threats and often not successful for crisis management and human development.

     She defined human security as the security of individuals and communities rather than security of states, and it combines both human rights and human development. In one of the chapter of the book, she presented the origin or history of how the term ‘human security’ emerged and evolved. In relation with the aforementioned statement, Kaldor argued that human security have developed into two directions. (1) The approach taken by the Canadian government, which in her own words was “adopted and established a network of like-minded states who subscribed to the concept,” i.e. responsibility to protect, and was published in the 2005 Human Security Report. (2) The UNDP approach which was also reflected in the work of the United Nations High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. This approach according to Kaldor emphasized the interrelatedness of different types of security and the importance of development as a security strategy.

     In her view it is imperative to combine these two approaches to put emphasis on the security of the individual and the interrelated character of security. In short, the concept is both ‘freedom from fear’ and ‘freedom from want’. In setting out on how to implement her version of human security into practice, she made five principles that are relevant to both security and development. This was done to further her explanatory claim and elaborate her case on human security as a paradigm. The first one was the primacy of human rights which distinguished human security approach from the traditional state security. In this principle, she meant for the avoidance of killing unless it is necessary and legal.

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