The complexity of global security governance: An analytical overview

Emilian Kavalski

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


By suggesting predictable and controllable patterns of development, the literature on global governance seems to simplify the world for decision-making tractability. In this respect, security narratives often remain analytically frozen, while the dynamics of global life are not. Relying on complexity thinking, this article both comments on the construction and potential reconstruction of the concept of security as it relates to the question of global governance and engages with the cognitive multiplicity of the notion of global security governance. Such an exploration suggests the need for the complexification of the discourses and practices of security governance through the adaptive contingency of "security as resilience", which rejects the detachment between human and natural systems and the ability of the former to control the latter. The argument is that the logic of "security as resilience" is more appropriate than the conventional logic of "security as control". In policy terms, therefore, the complexity of global security governance intimates an ability to cope with vulnerabilities, defy adversity and construct a new proficiency in response to the uncertainty, cognitive challenges, complex unbounded risks and the need for continuing adaptation prompted by the alterations in global life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-443
Number of pages21
JournalGlobal Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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