Ethics, Justice, and Security
Anthony F. Lang, Jr.
International Studies, Religion
counterterrorism, critical security studies, ethics, justice, social norms
Comment on this article Moral evaluations of violence and warfare are not new; every religious, cultural, and political system has included norms, rules, and laws related to the use of force. Understanding the relationship between ethics, justice and security, then, requires a review of not only recent literature in the field of International Relations (IR), but more traditional sources. Drawing upon this wider range of sources, I argue in this essay that the ethics of security must be understood in the context of political authority, both domestic and international. The concept of justice provides the link between ethics and political authority. How such a wide array of concepts link together will be explored through a review of both ancient and modern works on military force. In IR, three concepts are most often deployed in understanding the ethics of security: norms, rules, and laws. A norm is a “shared expectation for the proper behaviour of agents with a particular identity” ( Katzenstein 1996 :5). Norms are background conditions that structure the way individuals see the world around them and their role within that world. The work in IR that focuses on norms is best understood as a mode of descriptive ethics (see Harbour (1999) for descriptive versus other modes of ethical inquiry in international affairs). A number of analysts have sought to determine not only what ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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