This paper seeks to critically interrogate the view that the emergence of ‘Human Security’ can be seen as a response to the ontological insecurity wrought by the globalization of neo-liberalism. For Giddens (1991:47), to be ‘ontologically secure is to possess, on the level of the unconscious and practical consciousness, “answers” to fundamental existential questions which all human life in some way addresses.’ Religion and nationalism provide ‘answers’ to these questions in times of rapid socio-economic and cultural change (Kinvall 2004). The dislocation engendered by successive waves of neo-liberal globalization has resulted in the deracination of many of the world’s inhabitants resulting in a state of collective ‘existential anxiety’ (Giddens 1991). Under such conditions of existential anxiety, the search for identity and community becomes paramount. However, secular conceptions- including ‘critical’ accounts- of Human Security as ‘freedom from fear and want’ (Commission on Human Security 2003) fail to take into account the importance of identity for security. It will be suggested that a ‘post-secular’ understanding of Human Security (Shani 2014) is better able to provide ontological security in times of rapid global transformation but only if it accounts for the centrality of religion to post-colonial subjectivity as a legacy of colonialism.
About the Speaker:
Giorgio Shani PhD (London) is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Christian University, Tokyo and will be Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre of International Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) from May 1 2016. He is the author of Sikh Nationalism and Identity in a Global Age (Routledge 2008) and Religion, Identity and Human Security (Routledge 2014). He has published widely in internationally reviewed journals including International Studies Review and The Cambridge Review of International Affairs. Currently, he is serving as President of the Asia-Pacific region of the International Studies Association (2014-1017) and is series editor of Critical Perspectives on Religion in International Politics (Rowman and Littlefield). For more details about him including a list of publications see below: http://www.routledge.com/authors/i7881-giorgio-shani and https://icu.academia.edu/GiorgioShani.