About Security, Policy and Practice

The focus of this working group is to construct a space for international relations scholars to:

  1. Exchange academic thought, expertise and evidence on security policy and practice
  2. Energise academics by encouraging and providing opportunities for engagement with a wider range of thinking and debate on security policy and practice
  3. Connect research and debate on UK and international security policy and practice with relevant policy and practitioner communities within government, political parties, thinktanks, NGOs and the media.

We seek to engage with both high-level concerns around the core values and strategic thinking that underpins UK national security policy, as well as more discrete policy areas.

The UK confronts a shifting security landscape, evident through the 2021 Integrated Review and its 2023 refresh, which both highlight an array of emerging concerns amid unparalleled global challenges. However, a tension exists between the Review's occasional embrace of a broader security terminology (noting, for instance, the need to tackle ‘the priority issues – health, security, economic well-being and the environment – that matter most to our citizens in their everyday lives’ (IR, 2021: 12), and the ‘conventional’ approach – focusing primarily on state security and the use of military force – on which it ultimately falls back.

While orthodox academic approaches to security often have strong links with more applied sites of security policy-making, critical security studies and critical IR have often enjoyed less direct links to security policy decision-making. In partnership with Rethinking Security – a network which brings together UK civil society, activists, NGOs and academics to explore alternatives to current UK security policy and practice – this working group aims to strengthen and facilitate a policy-engaged dialogue which prioritises a plurality of theoretical and political lenses, including historically more marginalised voices.


Larry Attree
Rethinking Security
Dr Thomas Martin
Open University
Dr Elisabeth Schweiger
Stirling University



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