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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2024
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Book description

States have social contractual duties to provide security for their people, but just what measures are morally required? Should states be obligated to address real/objective existential threats via securitization (i.e., threat-specific, often liberty defying, rigorously enforced and sometimes forcible emergency measures)? Do non-state actors or international organizations also have a moral duty to securitize and, if so, why, when, and to whom? Would such duties pertain only to populations of one's own state or also to people in other states? 'The Duty to Secure' offers answers to these and other questions, setting out a rigorous theory of morally mandatory securitization that examines the duties of actors at all levels of analysis. Morally mandatory securitization has practical implications, including for NATO's Article 5 and the responsibility to protect norm, both of which currently take account of only a narrow range of threats.


‘In her earlier work on Just Securitization Theory, The Morality of Security, Rita Floyd set out the circumstances under which it could be morally right to 'securitize' an issue - that is, to treat a situation as a threat demanding an extraordinary response. Here, she extends her analysis to examine situations in which securitization is not just morally right but actually morally obligatory. What is distinctive and impressive about her approach is the way in which she marries the usually quite distinct discourses of security studies, the just war, and contemporary analytical moral philosophy. The result is a compelling study unlike any to be found within these individual discourses, a study which throws light on many contemporary issues, in particular those connected to the vexed question of intervention.’

Chris Brown - Emeritus Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science

‘Rita Floyd continues to provide original insights into the ethics of securitization. Combining the clarity and precision of a political philosopher with the realistic and nuanced approach of a security specialist, this book is an outstanding contribution to international political theory. Scholars, policymakers, and students will all benefit from Floyd’s clarity on the moral duty to securitize.’

Anthony F. Lang, Jr - Professor of International Political Theory, University of St Andrews

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  • Introduction
    pp 1-41
  • 1 - When Is Securitization Morally Required?
    pp 42-81
  • The Case of Must Cause
  • 2 - States and the Obligation to Securitize
    pp 82-123


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