22 July 2008
The UK’s research councils have recently announced an initiative on security. Below is an abbreviated version of the call for research fellowships by two research councils. Does the call for proposals reinforce the difficulties in distinguishing ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’ research on terrorism and counter-terrorism? What bearing do the recent events at the University of Nottingham have for academics wishing to work on security and insecurity?
For full details of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s involvement in this scheme please see the AHRC website
RCUK Global Uncertainties: Security for All in a Changing World Programme
All seven Research Councils, are working together to advance our understanding of the nature and interactions of five global phenomena – conflict, crime, environmental degradation, poverty and terrorism – and their implications for various concepts and contexts of security and insecurity. The AHRC is centrally involved in the development of the Programme which will support a wide range of research to examine key issues such as: the causes of threats and risks arising from these global phenomena, including the role of ideas and beliefs of individuals, communities and nation states; how we might monitor and detect threats and risks; and what interventions could help to prevent or reduce harm to society and individuals. The RCUK programme has identified five broad areas of concern:
- Stresses on the global environment, including energy and natural resource vulnerabilities, climate change impacts and disease transmission.
- The emergence of new forms of international and transboundary crime which pose wider forms of risks.
- Radicalised violence and terrorism.
- Global poverty and its relationship to inequality and injustice.
- Conflict (including weapons of mass destruction)
Whilst these five issues are global in scale and conceptualisation, the programme is concerned with the security of individuals, communities, organisations, institutions and states at all spatial perspectives from the local to the global.
Current Calls for Proposals
ESRC/AHRC Fellowships on Ideas and Beliefs
Fellowship applications under this call must address one or more of the following key research areas:
a. How do individuals and communities develop their ideas and beliefs about security and insecurity?
b. Why do some ideas and beliefs lead to conflict, violence or criminal activity? What lessons can we learn from a) above that provide the basis for countering those ideas and beliefs that reinforce conflict, violence and crime?
c. How do issues around the cycle of knowledge production and use interact with the creation, management and resolution of insecurities?
d. How are risks and threats communicated, constructed, represented and received by key actors and communities, using different media and cultural forms for different audiences, including the use of language, images and symbolism?
e. Is there an acceptable balance between national security needs and the protection of civil liberties and human rights? If so, can one be secured? And how do we balance local needs against global responsibilities within a security context?
f. How should institutions with responsibility for different aspects of a broad security agenda, including security forces themselves, evolve to meet new risks and threats?