A contribution to a comprehensive security study to meet the requirements of the contemporary globalized world


The study of security, in all its aspects, traditionally faces a number of problems, from terminology and meaning, to definition and the corpus of knowledge. Only when we resolve these problems can we deliver a successful formulation of security science as an independent discipline. The “Security concept” is often subject to more scrutiny than the general ambit of  security science, which would interpret this concept within its own framework.  There remains a lack of any unique and comprehensive definition of  Security concept, which tends to be viewed as an interaction with the security object.  We, attempt to define it through two questions: Security for whom? And Security based on which values?

The international reality at the beginning of the 21st century presented a challenge to the academic sector to redefine the dominant existing principles of the security concept.  This meant the need for the state to move aside as the long-standing predominant security controller and thus for academics to observe security as a general prerequisite for the functioning of any system, be it  a state, database, business, environment or citizen, etc.

The field of ​​security is still dominantly studied within the context of some other academic discipline, principally social sciences, such as sociology and criminology.  However, there is a growing need to study security in the context of technological sciences, bearing in mind the increasing significance of security of information systems, databases and so on. Research has shown that the security field already has sufficient categories (fields) that would constitute its unique “corpus of knowledge”, as an important prerequisite for qualifying security as an independent science.

We also suggest that this corpus of knowledge can be extended to other disciplines to make security studies yet more comprehensive, and also demonstrate elasticity to adapt, as an independent scientific discipline, to the demands of change and new times. This need has been particularly pronounced in the decades that followed the Cold War, in the period of dynamic economic, political and technological globalization, where  the security of individuals, social groups, business and institutional systems, has become a dominant aspect in the functioning of modern society. In that sense, the establishment of security science as an independent discipline is necessary not only for the development of a theoretical model, but also because of its wide practical application in modern, globalized world.


The world is more connected than ever before. Its business, communication, and political blood stream has reached the furthest and most isolated places on the planet. Participation in these relationships is not confined to large and/or wealthy systems (whether political or economic); many would argue it is deeply individualised, and democratised, given developed communication technology that allows a very large number of people effectively to participate virtually freely and immediately in global communication, business, and also making political decisions.

Many spheres of social life have become vulnerable to external influences precisely because of the exceptional degree of interconnectedness. Destructive influence on the systems exists from “inside”, due to extraordinary communication connectedness, which has brought with it a number of changes in the structure of society.

System security is today an equally important component of issues such as system management, or its design. For example, it is estimated that by 2021, every major company in the world will have a manager who deals exclusively with cyber security (Chief Information Security Officer – CISO) as a position within its top-level management.  This is already the case in as many as 65 percent of companies in the United States[1].

The concern for the security of IT systems is a key preoccupation for the scientific community, given the quantity, quality, and value of  companies’ work which depends on the integrity of this field. This is understandable given the significant risk presented by cybercrime and thus the need for IT systems to be maximally protected, which requires the support of  science. Nevertheless, this is only one aspect of security. In this study, we seek to explain and analyse security as a whole, and attempt to determine whether it is possible to place it at the centre of a particular scientific discipline. This is not currently the case.

Contrary to traditional concepts of security studies as fragmented, and structured according to the criteria of individual disciplines (legal, sociological, criminological, political science, etc.), and  focused on certain actors (entities or objects) of security – state, society, company, an individual and so on, we consider that studying security as a totality has outgrown this fragmentation. It is now not only possible, but necessary, to treat it  as a separate scientific discipline.

Therefore, in this article, we shall seek to identify the key differences between security studies and  research in the field of security, in terms of its shape as  the current prevailing academic framework for security studies, and, on the other hand, comprehensive security sciences, as a separate discipline in which the complexity of modern security can be studied in an adequate academic formula.

[1] ISACA: State of Cyber Security Study 2017


Security study, in all its aspects, traditionally faces several initial problems.  We shall highlight these in this study, because we consider that only their resolution can lead to a successful formulation of security science as an independent discipline. These problems concern terminology and clear definition of the concept of security, which will lead to a comprehensive definition of  security. There are many and varied professional studies and conclusions in this field, because the concept (and even the term) of security is now considered and debated considerably further than the traditional remit of security science, which would interpret this concept within its own academic remit.  In addition,  the concept of security is most often explored from the point of view of its horizontal or vertical context. Horizontal, when it concerns the security of certain structures – states, international community, companies, socially important systems, environment and so on;  vertical, in the case of security study of communities, nations, individual social groups and individuals. The terminology and definition problems of the concept of security originate partly from the inconsistency of authors and analyses  of the true meaning of the term “security”, or unclear difference between the terms “security” and “safety”. Regarding this seemingly merely lexical ambiguity, Martin Gill says that numerous critical reviews of attempts to define the security concept “do not go beyond reminding that the word “security” has multiple meanings, and in some languages has the same meaning as the term “safety”[1]. For example, the Serbian and Croatian languages, which differ only in nuance, can serve as a useful illustration of this. Serbian uses the term “security”, and in Croatian “safety”, for the same concept.

This initial, terminological, confusion is not without cause, and we will demonstrate this by using the example of the explanation (definition) of the terms “security” and “safety” provided by Oxford English vocabulary. Although these are different expressions, the explanations of their meanings are almost identical, and sometimes tautological.

Security – The state of being free from danger or threat or the state of feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety.

Safety – The condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury or denoting something designed to prevent injury or damage[2].

To overcome this vague and not entirely clear terminological difference between the two terms, we will observe them in terms of their own dynamic relations, starting from whether it is a state or a process. In this sense, we are closer to determining security as a PROCESS, or more specifically, as a set of different processes, and safety as a STATE. Continuing in this vein, we will observe security as a set of processes that lead to a state, that is, provide safety. Therefore, “safety” is understood as an individual, personal, inner feeling (emotional aspect), which is the result of realised security (physical aspect).

[1] Gill M: Foreword for Smith C.L and Brooks D.J: Security Science: The Theory and Practice of Security (2012)

[2] English Oxford Living Dictionaries


There is equalunevennessin the definition of the concept of security, which further complicates attempts to create an independent scientific discipline which deals with all aspects of security. In this respect, we believe that contemporary practices or processes in the modern world that impose the need to define security as an independent scientific discipline, predominantly seek to disqualify attempts to define security by using  negative determinants. Such examples in traditional publications produced by the security field are numerous, and usually determine security as a state (or process) of ABSENCE of threats to a particular system or individual. We argue that such definitions are no longer adequate to explain the complexity of either the term or  the essence of security, as a set of diverse processes that together contribute to complete elimination or at least minimisation of any threats directed at the entities (social, business, technological, etc) and individuals and their values.

This  point of view brings us close to the concept of security offered by David Baldwin, who places it in interaction with the security entity and attempts to define it through two questions – Security for whom? And Security of which values?[1] By supporting Barry Buzan’s view that there is no sense in the concept of security that does not contain “reference object”, Baldwin nevertheless concludes that “reference objects” are numerous, different, but also interconnected, therefore this approach leads to confusion because it defines the concept of security through empirical observations.

Therefore, he suggests that it is acceptable to define the concept of security through the question – Security for whom? – bearing in mind the fact that response to this issue will be able to cover all aspects: individuals (some individuals, most individuals, all individuals…), state (one state, many states, all states…), international systems (one, many, all international systems…) Also, by answering the question – Security of which values? we can roughly define the concept of security, if we correlate it to the previous question – Security for whom? Because individuals, states and other social actors have many different values, such as physical security, economic prosperity, autonomy, etc.[2]

Although Baldwin continues with questions that, in his opinion, will more closely determine the concept of security (Security at what price, in what period, how much security and so on), we consider the first two issues to be critical and sufficient to understand this concept in its complexity.

Events and processes that shaped international reality at the beginning of the 21st century, have presented a challenge to the academic sector dealing with security issues, which is to redefine the previous key elements of this concept. Reality imposed the need for security to be understood as a general prerequisite for the functioning of any system, be it a state, database, business, and even largely civilian areas, such as personal communications and the media. The first decade of the 21st century led to the de-ethicisation of the security concept.  The state has been usurped and dethroned; it has lost its own supreme power (and weaknesses)  in terms of security issues. Concepts that  have been used to link security closely with the state, its power (especially armed forces), have not become outdated, but rather marginalised to the level of acting as just one segment in the process of the comprehensive definition of security.

Perhaps the best example of the transience of such a restrictive interpretation of the concept of security is the definition given by Stephen Walt in the article “The Renaissance of Security Studies”, where the author adheres to the still firmly-established definition of  security through categories of state, war, threats, etc.[3]. This is a typical neo-realistic view of the concept and essence of security, whose scientific, but also practical value decreases rapidly with events and processes which developed at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, such as globalization, technological revolution, the expansion of terrorism, the growth of extremist movements worldwide, financial crises, mass migration from east to west, and from south to north.

Nevertheless, Walt’s analysis remains important and irreplaceable, despite the passing of time, in terms of his recommendations on how future security studies should look like. He outlines very precisely the path future security theorists should follow: that they have to balance these studies between the “Scylla of political opportunism and Charybdis of academic irrelevance”[4]. The trap, according to Walt, is that security studies sometimes transform into a consultancy job, or policy analysis, where academic research is ignored. But perhaps a bigger trap is that the study of security becomes compelled by “trivial, formal, purely theoretical” elements, thus losing political relevance[5].

[1] Baldwin D.A: The Concept of Security, Review of International Studies, 23 (1997)

[2] Baldwin D.A: The Concept of Security, Review of International Studies, 23 (1997)

[3] Walt S.M: The Renaissance of Security Studies, International Studies Quarterly (1991)

[4] Walt S.M: The Renaissance of Security Studies, International Studies Quarterly (1991)

[5] Ibid.


The historical dividing line in security studies took place on September 11th 2001. The terrorist attacks on the United States produced root and branch changes, including a global understanding of security. Reflections on security, its study, its setting as a social and political priority, followed during the years after the attacks, heralding a new historical stage. Perhaps nothing better describes the change that the world entered in the first years of the 21st century than President Barack Obama’s comments in a speech in San Jose in 2013: “I think it’s important to recognise that you cannot have 100 percent security and also 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We need, as a society, to make some choices”[1].

And the choices were made. With few oscillations, caused by certain specific events, a convincing and stable majority of US citizens accepted a tough choice,and was ready to subject some of its civil rights to greater security. In a survey conducted in 2016, the Pew Research Center noted that the ratio of US citizens who accepted this was almost two thirds to one third[2]. The domination of this attitude leads to the conclusion that the world has emerged from the era where liberal values, such as complete protection of privacy or freedom of expression, and others  were of primary importance, whose safety must not be compromised and whose protection must be absolute. Security superseded these values due to direct, mutual confrontation, following  a series of shocking events that completely changed the view of the vast majority of people. The primacy of security over fundamental human rights has definitively opened the way, but also created an obligation for researchers to explore opportunities for a more varied and comprehensive study of all aspects of security. Furthermore, there was a need to test the possibility of establishing security studies as an independent scientific discipline, taking into account all previous forms of security studies, such as security studies or research from security areas.

A few catastrophic events of global scale in a very short time interval, imposed the need for security study, so far separate, to be unified in one discipline. In addition to the 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, which triggered global action against terrorism, but at the same time strengthened Islamic extremism, the world was shaken and irreversibly changed after the global financial crisis in 2008.  This produced  permanent and ever more pronounced conflicts  in cyberspace, which have already taken the  form of political struggle, since this virtual sphere also affects the outcomes of elections in the most developed world democracies. New problems in the security sphere are multidimensional, and the academic apparatus for their interpretation and scientific verification, was not able to address  their complexity. Their scientific treatment requires the development of a methodological and analytical approach based on the principles of already existing sciences, with the difference that individual aspects of security would not be studied separately, as before, but would tackle security as a totality.

[1] President Barack Obama: Statement by the President, Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, California, June 07, 2013. (

[2] Shiva M: Americans feel the tensions between privacy and security concerns, Pew Research Center (2016)


The fact that diversity exists in the global academic community with regard to the subject of study, language and methods, means that it additionally imposes the need to search for a common basis on which security would be established as a unique scientific discipline. We shall now examine that possibility by looking at the previous relationship between security studies and other, related disciplines, and also through identifying the subjects and objects of security.

Specific elements in previous studies of security generally contain features of some other scientific discipline, because they use the same research and methodological apparatus. At some universities, security is studied as a part of criminology science.  The University of Salford in Manchester’s Criminology Course with Security, was one of the first in the world dedicated to the study of the latest events at either national or international level, based on the significance of security in prevention, control and response to all forms of crime, whether they originate from the local, national or transnational context. This course also covers the study of global security issues, including terrorism and transnational crime[1].

Sociology has traditionally not been the focus of questions and research regarding security, although this does not mean that sociologists have not studied problems, interactions or discourses, which included significant aspects of security.

But sociologists did not try to conceptualise their work on this complex problem. Lisa Stampnitzky states that things were changing in this respect in the early 2000’s, when sociologists  began to focus increasingly on security issues as understood by some other disciplines, and in relation to the concepts of the state, warfare, and political violence. There are also sociologists who study security factors due to  their traditional interest in economic inequality, family, and other social institutions. Stampnitzky introduces the notion of “political security”, which refers to that aspect of studies, primarily political science and international relations, which focuses on security as the main “service” provided by the state.

The author also finds that some sociologists dealt with the concept of “humane security” in the post-1994 period, when the UN Human Development Report was compiled. Regarding the study of security within sociology, Lisa Stampnitzky says that key focus was most often on “insecurity” of various types – particularly social, economic or interpersonal. There has been justified criticism of  a system where sociologists studied the processes (in relation to security) within individual societies, while studies in other countries were left to anthropologists, and transnational politics left to political sciences[2].

Nevertheless, the decisive majority of recent security papers have addressed technological security and have moved away from the social research circle to which it almost exclusively belonged. Security studies in the IT Sector belong, undoubtedly, to the corpus of technological sciences: their methodology and findings are applicable in the field of technology, very rarely in the sphere of interpersonal relations. It is not surprising that this branch of security research is gaining increasing importance, bearing in mind the extent of the damage which cybercrime has spread around the world. One study showed that in 2017, there were as many as 16.7 million victims of identity theft, which had caused total damage of about $ 17 billion[3]. This concerns one “branch” of cybercrime, which is based on the theft or abuse of personal data and  is one of the fastest growing crime, as identified by Interpol[4]. Its dramatic growth has undoubtedly contributed to the fact that cybercrime,  primarily as cross-border crime, still does not have an adequate global response, or strong cross-border cooperation.  This extends beyond  security services, but also encompasses a common academic effort to find joint analytical answers for its containment.


[2] Stampnitzky L: Sociology: Security and insecurities from Security – Dialogue across disciplines, Cambridge University Press (2015)

[3] 2018 Identity Fraud: Fraud Enters a New Era of Complexity, Javelin Strategy and research (2018)

[4] Interpol: Global Cybercrime Strategy, February 2017


In an attempt to broaden the study of security from particularity to a study of all its aspects in a unique manner with a unique methodological apparatus, and to be clearly defined conceptually and in in terms of its content, we will consider whether the existing model of  studying security provides an adequate knowledge corpus.

Smith and Brooks have considered this issue and conclude that more knowledge is required from studies of the aspects of security in order to acquire the status of academic discipline, because we still lack a sufficient definition of the knowledge corpus from this field[1].

However, they point out that researchers, lecturers, industry and governments in the field have made progress, but still not fast enough, precisely because it is not possible to define many aspects of security. In seeking to formulate the definition of security with a view to achieving decisive progress towards establishing a unique knowledge corpus from the security field, Brooks compiled a list of 12 categories of knowledge in this field, based on the analysis of hundreds of different security courses, on basic studies carried out  in Australia, South Africa, Great Britain and the United States[2]. Those are the following areas:

– Criminology

– Security management

– Managing Exposure to Threats (Business continuity management)

– Management of facilities

– Industrial safety

– Security technology

– Investigations

– Physical security

– Law

– Risk management

– Safety

– Fire safety

This carefully and systematically structured list provides opportunities for contextual understanding of the complex of knowledge on security,and presents a means of establishing the full definition of the knowledge corpus necessary for studying security.We argue that it is not complete, but with a few additions  the knowledge corpus would be refined and completely suitable for constituting the knowledge framework on which security study would be founded on.

We shall focus on  the following categories:

– Computer security

– International relations and

– Intelligence and security systems and organisations

First category – Information security (popular cyber security).   This is unavoidable, as it isIa field based primarily on technological knowledge.  Given its specificity, it differs from other scientific and research categories mentioned earlier which are predominantly based on knowledge from social and/or economic-management fields and sciences. Knowledge in this field is an absolutely indispensable part of the overall knowledge corpus in the field of security, bearing in mind the scope of threats, and therefore interest in eliminating these threats, in organisations and systems. Impressive technological advances will only increase the significance of this category for the overall security framework in the future, whether it is a theoretical, or practical expression.

International relations. Without studying their contemporary dynamics, it is impossible to present the full context in which it is studied and the concept of security. Huge changes in the system of international connections, whether political, economic, cultural or technological, largely influence the design of security systems, primarily at the level of intergovernmental relations, but also in the complicated network of interactions of state and non-state actors on the global scene (companies, NGOs, media, influential individuals, etc.)

Finally, there is the study of modern intelligence systems and organisations.  In this  area, changes follow the rate of dynamics in international relations, as well as the development of technology in all its aspects. The evolution of the intelligence and security sector around the world, naturally moves in the direction in which international relations evolve, above all from the aspect of interconnectedness, and even confrontation, of public and private.

[1] Smith C, Brooks D: Security Science: The Theory and Practice of Security (2012)

[2] Brooks D.J: What is Security: Definition through knowledge categorisation, Security Journal (2009)


Security researchers often face the problem of defining the area of ​​their work, or to determine precisely the field they are studying. In doing so, they are tackling certain aspects of security, specialising and studying them as separate segments of a more general domain, whose integrity is sometimes ignored. Here, we refer to certain sub-types of security disciplines, such as financial security, cyber security, environmental security, social, military security and so on.  Therefore,  this includes a whole series of branches, which in a scientific synthesis cannot be viewed as separate concepts, but as segments of one common discipline – security science. It is possible to observe (and study) all the categories mentioned above by using the criteria mentioned by Baldwin (security for whom, security of which values, with additional questions – how much security, at what cost and so on.)   The horizontal fragmentation of the security study, is similar to a vertical division: security of an individual, a social group, a nation, a state, an international organisation, international system.And their study, is possible with the use of  a single, multidisciplinary approach – possible and desirable if we treat security study comprehensively. Bearing this in mind, we will refer, briefly to the relationship between national security and inter-national (global) security, as a very current subject of study within in the conditions of globalization. Given that the process of interconnection and interdependence of states and non-state entities (companies, civil society, media, technology, etc.) in the 21st century has irreversibly moved towards permanent integration, having passed the major test of the global financial crisis of 2008, we can consider it quite justifiably as the study of the range of international or global security, as one very important aspect of the overall process of globalization. This is without doubt one aspect that will attract the attention of researchers in the future, when studying the extent of development and strengthening of global connections.

Thus, one of the more important questions is,to what extent are traditional actors of international relations, like states, ready to correct their role in the security field and leave a part of the sovereign national security powers to supranational structures? Is their sovereign right (and obligation) subject to reconsideration, bearing in mind the dramatic strengthening of international and transnational connections, which carry with them completely new, and so far unknown risks? If we look at national security in the words of Walter Lippmann, that this is “the ability of the state to protect their core values “[1], whether states are ready to internationalise this primary role, and to what extent, in order to respond to challenges and threats that go beyond national borders, but also to protect the values ​​that have also become transnational in the conditions of globalization? Free international markets, for example, or global communication networks, or the suppression of international terrorism?

 Just in answering these questions, the complex of knowledge from the field of security can offer comprehensive answers. What practice says is that the world, that is, nation states, are still more inclined to preserve their national security mechanisms for themselves, trying to respond to modern supranational security challenges with their own systems, rather than be prepared to give up this part of their sovereignty, for the sake of the common, multinational or inter-national response to the threats that present themselves.  A strong indicator was the attempt to create a joint intelligence service at European Union level – the EU Intel, which has essentially failed, although one of its offshoots (European Union Intelligence and Situation Centre – EU INTCEN), has already been established.  It  works at an administrative level and is tasked to provide EU officials with intelligence analysis and so-called “early warnings” of risks.  The idea of ​​creating a united, common intelligence service at EU level, has emerged as a need for a more adequate response to terrorism threats, to which most EU Member States are exposed. Nevertheless, the member states were not ready to invest their own sovereignty, or the potential of their national intelligence services in a common, transnational intelligence structure at EU level, demonstrating  that integration still has its limits and that sharing state secrets with more than 20 partners within the EU, with very different economic, military and diplomatic powers, is one of these limits.

The final “no” to the creation of such a service came in 2017 from Germany, the economically most powerful and politically most influential member of the EU, whose head of the foreign intelligence agency BND Bruno Kahl, told the competent Bundestag committee, that Germany “does not need a European intelligence agency or any other European intelligence institution” because intelligence work “is better organised at national level”[2].

On the other hand, countries have shown much greater co-operation and awareness of the need for joint action against supra-national security threats, reaching the 2015 Paris Agreement on reducing global warming by taking on a number of obligations to reduce the emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere.  This international agreement is a good example of a multilateral (global) solution to security challenges, which go beyond national frameworks and require a supra-national answer.

[1] Lippmann W: US Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic (1943)

[2] Kaleta P: Germany rejects European intelligence agency, Politico (2017)


Security study is a complex field, whose sphere of scientific investigation has dramatically expanded in the post-Cold War period, over the period of contemporary globalization. For some time now, and particularly during this period, security aspects have outgrown, traditional frameworks, both those based on the theory of realism (in international relations), and on classical sociological and criminology scientific frameworks where security studies normally existed. By maintaining many of these classical orientations, contemporary study of all aspects of security requires a multi-disciplinary research approach, but at the same time forming a completely independent single “knowledge corpus” and methodology apparatus, which will make future research more competent and more adapted to contemporary practice and reality.

Because of its exceptional complexity and interconnectedness with other areas of scientific research, the concept of security suffers from the chronic lack of a comprehensive definition that would provide a generally accepted theoretical framework for its establishment as an independent scientific discipline. Referring to the ASIS International (American Society for Industrial Security), Smith and Brooks state that “every time we think we have hammered definition of the security field … somebody starts to take those nails out[1].

Existing security definitions were satisfied with (or they stopped at) two main goals.  Either they attempted to define one aspect of security (fragmentary) – national security, for example, security of property, people or the environment, etc, or they defined security in its relation to another science within the knowledge corpus they were studying (sociology, criminology, risk management, etc.). In modern science, such fragmentation of the theoretical definition of security led increasingly  to resort to its contextual definition, which only to a limited extent helps to recognise security as a comprehensive scientific field.

Despite the obvious lack of a definition, the knowledge corpus from the security field is clearly visible. It is important to understand  that this knowledge corpus is not final, but is completely open to the adoption of new categories of knowledge, as we have attempted to demonstrate in  this paper, suggesting new categories that would complement some already established frameworks within the security corpus of knowledge. Scientific discipline, consistently aims to be independent, and because security studies shares that ambition, it must have the ability to remain open to new influences, which will enrich its corpus of knowledge and make its subject of learning more complete. We believe that security, in that regard, is an extremely dynamic scientific discipline and that it is not only desirable, but also necessary to enrich its corpus, It is simply the demands of reality that make this field more complex and scientifically richer from year to year.

Finally, with that in mind, the need for the constitution of security study as an independent discipline,is simply the inevitability of modern society, given the importance of the way that this area is gaining momentum in almost all forms of social relations, but also within the parameters that technological progress carries. With extremely dynamic technological development, security studies was born of the framework of social sciences, but these studies are impossible without including the study of the technological aspect of security. This aspect has already penetrated so deeply into all other fields of security studies that contemporary scientific work in this field is simply inconceivable without the participation of its technological component. Only in this way can security studies fulfil its essential purpose, and that is its practical application, where it must be understood that it does not turn into “consulting” for individual practical questions, but retains scientific and research capacity.

[1] Smith C, Brooks D: Security Science: The Theory and Practice of Security (2012)


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