Societal security in Europe: a reassessment


01 Sep 2018 - 31 Oct 2018


Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium


Kristoffer Lidén, PRIO




Marte Nilsen:


Dates, course description and registration TBA in 2018

Course Description:

​This course provides an overview of scholartly perspectives and debates essential to the study of societalsecurity in Europe.

The course is organised in collaboration with the Societal Security Network (SOURCE) - Virtual Centre of Excellence on Societal Security in Europe,funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. 

Conflict with Russia, fight against IS, aftershocks of the globalfinancial crisis and the refugee crisis are beginning to shape a new era of societal security in Europe. In view of a changing landscape of threats and an increasingly central role of non-state actors in the post-Cold war era, the notion of societal security shifted the traditional object of security threats – the sovereignty of the nation-state – to society. Beyond material aspects of life such as physical protection, shelter, food and subsistence, societal security includes complex moral and social aspects such as values, ideas, confidence, trust, belonging and loyalty, making social cohesion a central indicator of security. This course presents a reassessment of societal security in the light of recent events impacting European societies. Lectures investigate key aspects including surveillance, resilience, threats and security perceptions, relations betweenfinancial crisis and societal security and security and ethics. Guiding questions will be to discern how societal security is reconfigurated in open and less visible ways, how technologies impact societal values in the securing of society and how the continued relevance of the state can be conceptualized in a paradigm of societal security.

For an example of curriculum and format, please see the course page of the 2016 version of the course.