Christian Bueger

What is Maritime Security?


In a new article, which is forthcoming with Marine Policy and now available as a pre-print version, I discuss why attempts to define maritime security so far have failed. I argue to understand maritime security as a buzzword which is ambiguous by design. Here is the abstract:

Maritime Security is one of the latest buzzwords of international relations. Major actors have started to include maritime security in their mandate or reframed their work in such terms. Maritime security it is a term that draws attention to new challenges and rallies support for tackling these. Yet, no international consensus over the definition of maritime security has emerged. Buzzwords allow for the international coordination of actions, in the absence of consensus. These, however, also face the constant risk that disagreements and political conflict are camouflaged. Since there are little prospects of defining maritime security once and for all, frameworks by which one can identify commonalities and disagreements are needed. This article proposes three of such frameworks. Maritime security can firstly be understood in a matrix of its relation to other concepts, such as marine safety, seapower, blue economy and resilience. Secondly, the securitization framework, allows to study how maritime threats are made and which divergent political claims these entail in order to uncover political interests and divergent ideologies. Thirdly, security practice theory enables the study of what actors actually do when they claim to enhance maritime security. Together these frameworks allow for the mapping of maritime security.

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