Energy Securitisation: Applying the Copenhagen School’s Framework to Energy

  • Andreas Heinrich
  • Kacper Szulecki
Part of the Energy, Climate and the Environment book series (ECE)


Drawing on Buzan, Wæver and Wilde—central to the so-called Copenhagen School in Security Studies—the chapter proposes a way of applying the classic formulation of the securitisation model to energy security. Signalling some important critique that the Copenhagen School model picked up over the last two decades, we propose some reformulations. This proves necessary, as ‘securitisation theory’ does not provide clear guidance for empirical research. Most importantly, extra-ordinary measures which should result from a securitising move—and so, the changes in political practice going beyond what is usually accepted—are specified in a way which enables empirical research of securitisation in the energy sector. Furthermore, we expand the idea of a security speech act, and shift the focus onto securitised discourses, rather than individual utterances. Finally, we delineate ‘securitisation proper’ from similar notions of riskification, security jargon and draw a (de-)securitisation ‘pendulum’, which can move from de-politicisation, through politicisation to securitisation.


  1. Abrahamson, Rita. 2005. Blair’s Africa: The Politics of Securitization and Fear. Alternatives 30 (1): 55–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. State of Exception. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Balzacq, Thierry. 2008. The Policy Tools of Securitization: Information Exchange, EU Foreign and Interior Policies. Journal of Common Market Studies 46 (1): 75–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. ———. 2011a. A Theory of Securitization: Origins, Core Assumptions, and Variants. In Securitization Theory: How Security Problems Emerge and Dissolve, ed. Thierry Balzacq, 1–30. London: Routledge (PRIO New Security Studies).Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2011b. Enquiries into Methods: A New Framework for Securitization Analysis. In Securitization Theory: How Security Problems Emerge and Dissolve, ed. Thierry Balzacq, 31–53. London: Routledge (PRIO New Security Studies).Google Scholar
  6. Behnke, Andreas. 2007. Presence and Creation: A Few (meta-) Critical Comments on the c.a.s.e. Manifesto. Security Dialogue 38 (1): 105–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Besson, Mark, and McDonald, Matt. 2011. The Dog that Didn’t Bark: The Securitization of Climate Change in Australia. Paper Prepared for the International Studies Association Asia-Pacific Regional Section Inaugural Conference, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 29–30 September 2011.Google Scholar
  8. Bigo, Didier. 2002. Security and Immigration: Towards a Critique of the Governmentality of Unease. Alternatives 27 (Special Issue): 63–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bubandt, Nils. 2005. Vernacular Security: The Politics of Feeling Safe in Global, National and Local Worlds. Security Dialogue 36 (3): 275–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buzan, Barry. 1991. People, States and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post Cold War Era. 2nd ed. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  11. Buzan, Barry, and Ole Wæver. 2003. Regions and Powers. The Structure of International Security, Fifth Printing 2007. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Buzan, Barry, Ole Wæver, and Jaap de Wilde. 1998. Security: A New Framework for Analysis. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  13. Cherp, Aleh, and Jessica Jewell. 2014. The Concept of Energy Security: Beyond the Four As. Energy Policy 75: 415–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ciută, Felix. 2009. Security and the Problem of Context: A Hermeneutical Critique of Securitisation Theory. Review of International Studies 35 (2): 301–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ———. 2010. Conceptual Notes on Energy Security: Total or Banal Security? Security Dialogue 41 (2): 123–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Collier, Stephen J., and Andrew Lakoff. 2015. Vital Systems Security: Reflexive Biopolitics and the Government of Emergency. Theory, Culture & Society 32 (2): 19–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Corry, Olaf. 2012. Securitisation and ‘Riskification’: Second-Order Security and the Politics of Climate Change. Millennium 40 (2): 235–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Curley, Melissa G., and Jonathan Herington. 2010. The Securitization of Avian Influenza: International Discourses and Domestic Politics in Asia. Review of International Studies 37 (1): 141–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Entman, Robert M. 1993. Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm. Journal of Communication 43 (4): 51–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fischhendler, Itay. 2015. The Securitization of Water Discourse: Theoretical Foundations, Research Gaps and Objectives of the Special Issue. International Environmental Agreements 15 (3): 245–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fischhendler, Itay, and David Katz. 2013. The Use of ‘Security’ Jargon in Sustainable Development Discourse: Evidence from the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. International Environmental Agreements 13 (3): 321–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fischhendler, Itay, Lior Herman, and Jaya Anderman. 2016. The Geopolitics of Cross-Border Electricity Grids: The Israeli-Arab Case. Energy Policy 98: 533–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Flinders, Matthew, and Jim Buller. 2006. Depoliticisation: Principles, Tactics and Tools. British Politics 1 (3): 293–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gitlin, Todd. 1980. The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  25. Guzzini, Stefano. 2011. Securitization as a Causal Mechanism. Security Dialogue 42 (4–5): 329–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. ———, ed. 2012. The Return of Geopolitics in Europe?: Social Mechanisms and Foreign Policy Identity Crises. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hansen, Lene. 2000. The Little Mermaid’s Silent Security Dilemma and the Absence of Gender in the Copenhagen School. Millennium 29 (2): 285–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. ———. 2012. Reconstructing Desecuritisation: The Normative-Political in the Copenhagen School and Directions for How to Apply It. Review of International Studies 38 (3): 525–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Huysmans, Jef. 2006. The Politics of Insecurity: Fear, Migration and Asylum in the EU. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2011. What’s in an Act? On Security Speech Acts and Little Security Nothings. Security Dialogue 42 (4–5): 371–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Judge, Anadrew, and Tomas Maltby. 2017. European Energy Union? Caught Between Securitisation and ‘Riskification’. European Journal of International Security 2 (2): 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Krebs, Ronald R., and Patrick T. Jackson. 2007. Twisting Tongues and Twisting Arms: The Power of Political Rhetoric. European Journal of International Relations 13 (1): 35–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kuzemko, Caroline. 2014. Politicising UK Energy: What ‘Speaking Energy Security’ Can Do. Policy & Politics 42 (2): 259–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. ———. 2016. Energy Depoliticisation in the UK: Destroying Political Capacity. British Journal of Politics and International Relations 18 (1): 107–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lipschutz, Ronnie D. 1995a. On Security. In On Security, ed. Ronnie D. Lipschutz, 1–23. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  36. ———. 1995b. Negotiating the Boundaries of Difference and Security at Millennium’s End. In On Security, ed. Ronnie D. Lipschutz, 212–228. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  37. McDonald, Matt. 2008. Securitization and the Construction of Security. European Journal of International Relations 14 (4): 563–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mulligan, Shane. 2010. Energy, Environment, and Security: Crucial Links in a Post-peak World. Global Environmental Politics 10 (4): 79–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nyman, Jonna. 2013. Ethics, Securitization and Energy Security: The Case of the United States. Paper Presented at the 8th Pan-European International Studies Conference, Warsaw, 18–21 September 2013.Google Scholar
  40. Richert, Jörn. 2010. State-Centric Not Only in Its Findings: How the Acquiescence Framework Is Still Held Hostage by Methodological Nationalism. Paper Prepared for the SGIR 7th Pan-European International Relations Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, 9–11 September 2010.Google Scholar
  41. Rogers-Hayden, T., F. Hatton, and I. Lorenzoni. 2011. ‘Energy Security’ and ‘Climate Change’: Constructing UK Energy Discursive Realities. Global Environmental Change 21 (1): 134–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Salter, Mark B. 2008. Securitization and Desecuritization: A Dramaturgical Analysis of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. Journal of International Relations and Development 11 (4): 321–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. ———. 2011. When Securitization Fails: The Hard Case of Counter-Terrorism Programs. In Securitization Theory: How Security Problems Emerge and Dissolve, ed. Thierry Balzacq, 116–131. London: Routledge (PRIO New Security Studies).Google Scholar
  44. Schiffrin, Deborah. 1994. Approaches to Discourse. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  45. Schmitt, Carl. 1985 [1922]. Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  46. Sjöstedt, Roxanna. 2008. Exploring the Construction of Threats: The Securitization of HIV/AIDS in Russia. Security Dialogue 39 (1): 7–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stetter, Stephan, Eva Herschinger, Thomas Teichler, and Matthias Albert. 2011. Conflicts About Water: Securitizations in a Global Context. Cooperation and Conflict 46 (4): 441–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stritzel, Holger. 2007. Towards a Theory of Securitization: Copenhagen and Beyond. European Journal of International Relations 13 (3): 357–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Szulecka, Julia, and Kacper Szulecki. 2013. Analysing the Rospuda River Controversy in Poland: Rhetoric, Environmental Activism and the Influence of the European Union. East European Politics 29 (4): 397–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Szulecki, Kacper. 2016. When Energy Becomes Security: Copenhagen School Meets Energy Studies. Paper Presented at the Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS) Research Seminar, Copenhagen, 16 June 2016.Google Scholar
  51. Vaughn, Jocelyn. 2009. The Unlikely Securitizer: Humanitarian Organizations and the Securitization of Indistinctiveness. Security Dialogue 40 (3): 263–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vuori, Juha A. 2008. Illocutionary Logic and Strands of Securitization: Applying the Theory of Securitization to the Study of Non-democratic Political Order. European Journal of International Relations 14 (1): 65–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wæver, Ole. 1989. Security, the Speech Act: Analysing the Politics of a Word. Copenhagen: Center for Peace and Conflict Research.Google Scholar
  54. ———. 1995. Securitization and Desecuritization. In On Security, ed. Ronnie D. Lipschutz, 46–86. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  55. ———. 1996. European Security Identities. Journal of Common Market Studies 34 (1): 103–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. ———. 2003. Securitization: Taking Stock of a Research Programme in Security Studies. Copenhagen: mimeo.Google Scholar
  57. ———. 2007. Climate Change: The Security Issue of the Future? Paper Prepared for the CRIPS Annual Lecture 2007. Coventry: University of Warwick.Google Scholar
  58. ———. 2015. The Theory Act: Responsibility and Exactitude as Seen from Securitization. International Relations 29 (1): 121–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Watson, Scott D. 2011. Arctic Sovereignty in Canada: A Case of Successful or Failed Securitization? Paper Prepared for the 83rd Canadian Political Science Association Annual Convention, Waterloo, Ontario, May 2011.Google Scholar
  60. Weldes, Jutta. 1999. Constructing National Interests. The United States and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  61. Williams, Michael C. 2003. Words, Images, Enemies: Securitization and International Politics. International Studies Quarterly 47 (4): 511–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. ———. 2011. The Continuing Evolution of Securitization Theory. In Securitization Theory: How Security Problems Emerge and Dissolve, ed. Thierry Balzacq, 212–222. London: Routledge (PRIO New Security Studies).Google Scholar
  63. Wood, Matthew. 2015. Paradoxical Politics: Emergency, Security and the Depoliticisation of Flooding. Political Studies. doi: 10.1111/1467-9248.12192.
  64. Zittoun, Phillippe. 2015. From Policy Paradigm to Policy Statement: A Way to Grasp the Role of Knowledge in the Policymaking Process. In Policy Paradigms in Theory and Practice: Discourses, Ideas and Anomalies in Public Policy Dynamics, ed. John Hogan and Michael Howlett, 117–140. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Heinrich
    • 1
  • Kacper Szulecki
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Centre for East European StudiesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations