Book Review: European Security Culture: Language, Theory and Policy

By Monica Gariup

Farnham: Ashgate, 2009, ISBN 9780754675556, 350 pp., £ 60.00 (hb.)


By Kadri Kaan Renda | 15 April 2010

Monica Gariup’s European Security Culture: Language, Theory and Policy is one of thefew in-depth and systematic studies on European security culture. This book focuseson the emergence of a European security culture since the foundation of the EuropeanSecurity and Defence Policy (ESDP). The author aims to develop an analytical frameworkto analyze the role of language and discourse in the construction of security cultureand eventually security policy of the European Union (EU). The author’s purpose isoperationalizing culture through the empirical analysis of texts so that cultural anddiscursive sources of security in European security policy can be revealed.



The book is divided into two main parts. After the introductory chapter, in whichGariup poses research questions and discusses her theoretical approach, centralconcepts and main assumptions alongside the methodology applied in empiricalanalysis, the author devotes the first part of the book to building a model by combiningstructuration theory and cultural explanations in security studies. Chapter 2, 3 and 4lay the theoretical base for the empirical analysis. In chapter 2, the author sheds lighton the different conceptualizations of security and argues for the impact of ideas andvalues on policy preferences and action.


Chapter 3 is the most innovative chapter in the book. In this chapter, the author takesup the challenge of developing a language model of security. She explores the conceptof security by “taking language seriously” (p.47). The author considers security as alinguistic and discursive practice. Her approach is similar to the securitization modelof the Copenhagen school in many ways. Gariup is interested in the questions of howthe security is defined in the minds of policymakers and how it is uttered by nationaland international elites. The author also assumes that language and discourse are “thephysical residues of beliefs and culture” (p.51). She strongly argues that reasons foraction are engendered by culture and traits of culture are found in discourses. Drawingon these assumptions, Gariup makes an argument that convergence in discourses willeventually result in convergence in culture and behaviour of states in Europe.



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* Published in the First Issue of Journal of Global Analysis (JGA).

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