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Non-Traditional Security


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Political-Security Blueprint (APSC) has provided the organisation with a roadmap and outline for the cooperation of member states in addressing Non-Traditional Security (NTS) issues, “intensifying counterterrorism efforts, strengthening ASEAN Cooperation on Disaster Management and Emergency Response and pushing forward an effective and timely response to urgent issues, or crisis situations affecting ASEAN (ASEAN Political Security Blueprint 2009, pp. 12–14)” cited in (di Floristella 2013, pp. 28). Therefore, by challenging the perception of the state as the primary security referent, NTS scholars have been fundamental in preserving security in the traditional sense of the word (i.e. the lack of interstate conflict) by fostering increased interconnectedness and cooperation between ASEAN states, grounded in the shared goals of mitigating risks that affect the region as a whole.

With the prioritization of the aforementioned non-traditional issues in ASEAN, both the concepts of non-traditional security and ‘man-made disasters’ becomes more important. Man-made disasters are one of the types of hazards that may cause disruption towards developmental processes. First modeled by Barry Turner, “Man-made Disasters” departed from the idea that disasters arise from an interaction between the human and organizational arrangements of the socio-technical systems set up to manage complex and ill-structured risk problems. Furthermore, the man-made disasters model defined a disaster occurrence not by its physical impacts, but as a disruption or collapse of the existing cultural beliefs and norms about hazards, management of hazards and the consequences it brought. All in all, man-made disasters are different from accidents, meaning that these hazards are generated from many pre-conditions which resulted into major systems failure (Pidgeon & O’Leary, 2000). Thus, several issues such as threats towards energy and infrastructure security, resource scarcity and economic disparity, separatist movements, irregular migration, and social political instability are categorized as non--military threats which stems not from competition and power dynamics between states. These issues pose as a challenge to the survival and well-being of peoples and states signifying the need for non-traditional security solutions, e.g. comprehensive humanitarian, political, economic, and social responses (Caballero-Anthony, Emmers, and Acharya, 2006, cited in Martel, 2016).

These aforementioned non-traditional issues are often neglected, since the study of other drivers of instability and conflict are often overshadowed by the role of the state, sovereignty, and territorial integrity as the primary method to maintain order in an anarchical world. The threat of non-traditional issues are gradually becoming more complex and multi-dimensional (MoFA, 2018). Thus, studies coonducted which utilize alternate lenses with less state-centric viewpoints and solutions are also increasingly needed. With these existing conditions, RDI aims to develop a research group focused on non-traditional security issues, expanding the reach of our existing research clusters and utilising an alternate approach other than the developmental approach. Research on this topic will be aimed at developing a knowledge-base on NTS, and run a public dicourse on present conditions and future developments related to issues on NTS, thus providing a fresh and in-depth perspective of issues through the lens of the security approach.

Topic to be Explored:

  • Gender and Human Security
  • Environmental Security and Climate Change
  • Energy Security
  • Politics and Political Instability
  • Transnational and Organized Crime
  • Cyber and Technological Advancemen