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The security concept in Southern Africa: Prospects for the post-apartheid era.

Zacarias, Agostinho M (1996) The security concept in Southern Africa: Prospects for the post-apartheid era. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis examines the concept of security that states and other actors in Southern Africa have acted upon. It argues that Southern Africa, due to its peculiar colonial history and apartheid, and the regions' links with great powers, embraced the traditional concept of security, a concept that was unsustainable and inappropriate for its specific conditions. The traditional concept seeks to protect states and domestic societies from outside threats. This concept was inherently militaristic, nationally focused, state-centric and narrow in scope. The emphasis is on immediate problem-solving rather than on a sustained attempt to identify the underlying causes of insecurity. Its application to Southern Africa led to regional confrontation and produced more insecurity than security. Southern Africa needs a new concept which is broader and long term in its outlook in order to restore stability and prosperity. The new concept should essentially be people centred, because people are the only object of security. The new concept should take into account the diverse factors, military and non-military impinging on the security of people. Placing people at the centre, when conceptualising security, requires focusing on making the environment secure rather than on the threats to and the vulnerabilities of the state. The environment of security is defined by the coexistence of three pillars: order, justice and peace. Thus the task of building security in Southern Africa should be orientated towards the strengthening of these pillars. In the final analysis the pillars need to be supported and reinforced by a political process which seeks to promote the good of all members of society as the final goal of all policy. This cannot be achieved without building legitimate states, i.e. states regarded as protectors of their citizens interests and strengthen social agents other than those merely around the state. The task of building a legitimate state and strengthening civil society then become primary steps in the process of building the desired security community in Southern Africa. National integration of different political communities within the states and regional co-operation are essential. This implies strengthening domestic and regional institutions. While domestic institutions are necessary to reduce internal conflicts, regional institutions are essential to allow the predictability of peace in relations among states. The economic and social inequalities between the states and the military asymmetries, will hamper states quick integration, hence the building of the security community. Regional institutions will tend to drain the resources of the relatively richer states, even though there is a strong will to avoid the confrontations of the past. This thesis suggests that a security system, defined as a pattern of relations aimed at assuring the sharing of common values and interests, should be followed in the process of building security in Southern Africa.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Law and Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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