The culture of national security: Norms and identity in world politics

TitleThe culture of national security: Norms and identity in world politics
Publication TypeBook
AuthorsKatzenstein, PJ


This book makes problematic the state interests that predominant explanations of national security takes for granted. Interests are constructed through a process of social integration. Neoliberalism and Neorealism have failed to explain "a quiet cataclysm": the dramatic changes in world politics since the mid-1980s.

This volume concentrates on two underattended determinants of national security policy: (1) the cultural-institutional context of policy and (2) the constructed identity of states, governments, and other political actors. The primary purpose of this book is not to build a 'theory' but an 'orienting framework' that establishes these causal factors, and the theoretical orientations from which they derive, as relevant for the analysis of national security. This book focuses on traditional issues of national security in order to deal with what most scholars consider 'hard cases', or those that favor well-established perspectives in the field of national security.

This book relaxes 2 core assumptions that mark to different degrees both neorealism and neoliberalism: (1) what happen if, in contrast to neorealism, we conceive of the environment of states not just in terms of the physical capabilities of states? (2) What happens if, contrasting with neoliberalism, we do not focus our attention solely on the ffects that institutional constraints have on interests? Relaxing these two assumptions is useful to help us discern new aspects of national security, and help in accounting for anomalies in existing analyses of national security.

1. "Norm": collective expectations fro the proper behavior of actors with a given identity. Can be 'constitute' or 'regulative'.
2. "Identity": shorthand label for varying constructions of nation- and statehood. Explicitly political process of construction.
3. "Culture": Collective models of nation-state authority or identity, carried by custom of law.

Chapter 2: Norms, Identity and Culture in National Security?>

Three layers to the international cultural environments in which national security policies are made:
1. Security Regimes
2. Existence of a world political culture - rules of sovereignty and international law
3. International patterns of amity and enmity have important cultural dimensions - e.g. canada and cuba.

Three effects that external cultural environments may have on state identities and thus on national security interests nad policeis:
1. States' prospects for survival as entities in the first place (Jackson and juridical sovereignty in Africa)
2. Modal character of statehood in the system over time.
3. Character of statehood within a given international system.

Three kinds of effects of environments on actors: (1) behavior of actors (2) properties actors, (3) existence of actors.

Five main types of arguments present in the substantive essays in this volume:

1. Effects of norms (I): Cultural or institutional elements of states' environments -- in this volume, most often norms--shape the national security interests or (directly) the security policies of states

2. Effects of norms (II): Cultural or institutional elements of states' environments -- in this volume, most often norms--shape state identity.

3. Effects of Identity (I): Variation in state identity, or changes in state identity, affect the national security interests or policies of states.

4. Effects of Identity (II): Configurations of state identity affect interstate normative structures, such as regimes or security communities.

4. Recursivity: State policies both reproduce and reconstruct cultural and institutional structure.

The arguments in this volume can either compete, complement, or subsume neorealist or neoliberal theories.

Extension of "Nation Security": We treat different lines of academic theorizing as highly articulated versions of world cultural models. Realism thus frames the political discourse about national security. Issues previously classified as national security have been reclassified as economics (as with trade), or as culture (as with education), or sometimes as simply disorder (as perhaps with terrorism, genocide, or international crime). In this way, realism continues to define the domain of national security --if in a rather tautological fashion. Issues can also move in the other direction, from culture ore regimes into security.