Book Review: Benny Teh Cheng Guan, ed., Human Security: Securing East Asia’s Future

AuthorSomdatta Banerjee
Published date01 June 2013
Date01 June 2013
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews
Benny Teh Cheng Guan, ed., Human Security: Securing East Asia’s Future.
London: Springer, 2012, pp. 268, Rs 7993/ US $149.
Regional security in East Asia has been and continues to be compre-
hended within the traditional framework of preserving territorial sover-
eignty and regime survival and hence has remained largely focused on
state interaction and state behavior. However, such a concept of security
has been connoted to be a biased one and do not inevitably associate posi-
tively with human security. Human security is becoming increasingly
obvious in recent years due to changes in the security landscape of world
politics. Inclusion of issues like environmental degradation, pollution,
poverty, food, HIV/AIDS, etc., have not been able to dispute the existing
meaning of national interest, but threaten the world with new challenges
which fall within the realm of low politics. Understanding these changes
of security threats require a holistic, non linear approach to security that
moves beyond the assumptions of real-politik that have dominated inter-
national politics for so long.
Benny Teh Cheng Guan in his book timely scrutinizes the crucial
issues causing human insecurities and appraises the extent to which
human security plays a role at the state and regional levels. He begins
the book by providing the readers with a definition of the term human
security. Attempting this he has actually traced back the genesis of the
concept of human security as a progression of international effort to
redefine and broaden the definition of traditional security. In the intro-
ductory chapter, Guan argues that the earliest form of human security
was the common security notion that called for international cooperation
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
17(1) 129–152
2013 Jadavpur University
SAGE Publications
Los Angeles, London,
New Delhi, Singapore,
Washington DC
DOI: 10.1177/0973598414524129

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