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Stuvoey (2010) Human Security Research Practices: Conceptualizing Security for Women’s Crisis Centres in Russia

Suggested reading material for methods course

Stuvoey, K. (2010) "Human Security Research Practices: Conceptualizing Security for Women’s Crisis Centres in Russia" Security Dialogue. Vol. 41(3): 279–299

Stuvoey, K.
Publication date: 

In ongoing discussions surrounding the issue of human security, the security of individuals has become entangled in conceptual debates that are preoccupied with notions of appropriate variables, measure- ments and issue areas. This article suggests and illustrates a basis for human security research that is distinct from such objectivist empiri- cism. A case study of crisis centres in northwest Russia is used to demonstrate that human security is not only a matter for objectified generalizations, but also a question of practices. Feminist security theory and the work of Pierre Bourdieu are used to address method- ological concerns raised during fieldwork on crisis centres in north- west Russia. Three dimensions are discussed: the conceptualization of security for the specific-actor approach of crisis centres, the ways in which relevant empirical data are established, and the subsequent interpretation of such data. The discussion shows, first, that rethinking security for crisis centres reveals contingencies in the research process that are relevant to the establishment of human security knowledge; second, the practice of human security research reflects the fragility in the understanding and production of security in everyday contexts. Accordingly, when we examine human security, our analysis ought to be directed at security as an ambiguous practice.

Keywords human security • international relations • feminist security theory • Pierre Bourdieu • Russia • women’s crisis centres

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