Thu, Oct 15

POL 389-800, Security Studies
SUNY Oswego | Fall 2020
Dr. Craig Warkentin


  • Ch. 15, Societal Security (Roe, 221-234)


  • Articulate how collective identities form and how they inform the notion of societal security.
  • Identify threats to societal identity, framed in terms of Buzan's five dimensions of security.
  • Discuss means and strategies for defending societal identity (or insuring societal security).
  • Describe and evaluate major criticisms of societal security and its use as an analytical tool.


  • cultural cleansing (228)
  • cultural nationalism (230)
  • ethnic cleansing (228)
  • horizontal competition (225)
  • migration (225)
  • political nationalism (231)
  • societal identity (224)
  • state-centric (222)
  • traditional security (223)
  • vertical competition (225)
  • weak states (223)




  1. What does it mean to say that societal security represents a "middle way between notions of individual and global security" (223)?
  2. Which of Giddens' two ways of thinking about society (noted on page 223) makes the most sense to you? Which of the two ways makes it easier to insure "security"? Explain your answer.
  3. How do we know a threat to societal identity when we see one? Offer a generic/hypothetical example, or two, of such a threat.
  4. Explain how armed aggression against a state may increase the security of a society within that state.
  5. Use the three main forms of "security discourses concerning immigration" (226) to characterize the current situation in the United States.
  6. Do the non-military means of defense, discussed in the text, create more problems than they solve? How so, or why not?
  7. Which of the four criticisms of societal security (on pages 232-233) do you find most compelling? Explain why by highlighted the particular strength(s) of that criticism.
  8. Which of the four criticisms of societal security (on pages 232-233) do you find least compelling? Explain why by highlighted the particular weakness(es) of that criticism.
  9. Cite some specific ways in which societal security impacts you personally (or explain how and why it does not).
  10. Based on the textbook questions, printed at the end of the chapter, articulate what you think are the most important things that Roe wants us to learn from his chapter. Do you agree that these are the most important things you should learn? Why or why not?


  1. What are some ways in which the Rohingya, in Myanmar, have experienced societal insecurity? Use specific points, terms, and concepts from the chapter to frame your response. (See videos below.)
  2. What are the threats (if any) to societal identity in the United States? How are these framed in our public discourse, and by whom? How should be best address these threats? (See video below.)