1. Challenges of new technologies
Traditionally security is regarded as a technical problem with primarily technological solutions: advanced weaponry, complex surveillance systems, and huge data bases seek to identify and neutralise threats in order to prevent them from becoming a reality. However, security technologies often have ambiguous consequences. Thus, new approaches see actors under threat as essentially involved both in the creation of their own insecurity and in its reduction or elimination.
Research proposals are invited on the relation between the security of societies and the technological measures that are implemented in order to assure it. Possible research topics will explore the links between the security of societies and states, and the technological innovations that impact both the threats they confront and their means to dealing with them: cyber-security, surveillance, biometric identification, information exchange, critical infrastructure protection, CBRN and bio-security, and crisis management, among others.
2. Public Policy and Human Security
The physical security of humans and objects is fostered by the public administration of order and the government provision of services. The loss of the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force in relation to the military and the police does not automatically translate into a collapse of public order, as is illustrated by the provision of administrative and social services by armed groups in civil war societies. However, security gaps also occur in stable democracies with powerful governmental and administrative apparatuses due to political or economic counterincentives to effective control, a lack of inter-agency cooperation, or ignorance as regards warning signals. The "Public Policy and Human Security" research field is designed to promote research devoted to the performance or failure of public administration outside the military and law enforcement services in relation to the state's security-sensitive functions.
3. Patterns of Conflict Resolution between the State and Traditional Actors
Traditional civil society structures in crisis-ridden and post-conflict regions may exert either a facilitating or a restrictive influence on processes of conflict resolution and sustainable peace building. Whether the co-existence of democracy, autocracy and various types of traditional institutions such as chief systems or consensual systems foster or threaten peaceful civil life is a moot point. It makes a substantial difference as regards the re-stabilization of conflict-ridden regions whether the relationship between indigenous traditional and modern Western political institutions is regarded as tense, mutually paralyzing or possibly complementary. The "Conflict Resolution between the State and Traditional Actors" research field is designed to sponsor research that focuses on the interdependency of the two domains with the aim to develop realistic concepts of security policy.
4. Non-Governmental Actors as Partners and Contenders of the State
Governmental and non-governmental actors (including media) find themselves in an ambiguous relationship, often fraught with tension, when it comes to securing key functions of the state and its administrative infrastructure. On the one hand, as agenda setters non-governmental actors have become serious competitors of nation states and their governments even at the international level. On the other, they also may act as vital sponsors of security provision in areas such as human rights protection, migration policy or the containment of intra-state violence and post-civil-war reconstruction in lieu of a governmental agency unable or unwilling to assume responsibility. By contrast to governmental actors, however, non-governmental actors are exposed to incentives to 'stay in business' as experienced conflict managers. The "Non-Governmental Actors as Partners and Contenders of the State" research field is designed to promote research focusing on the interaction of the productive and the precarious side of security-sensitive activities of non-governmental actors.
5. Security and Communication Strategies between Doctrine Formation and Implementation
The gap between strategic principles and their implementation is a notorious problem in security policy. While current scholarly and political debates focus extensively on the interpenetration of international and domestic security issues as well as the insufficient implementation of related policies within the framework of multi-lateral arrangements and national security doctrines, the degree to which such doctrine formation is appropriate tends to get neglected. What characterizes the interlinkages of "internal" and "external" security and how they vary internationally is as much a moot question as is how processes of doctrine formation actually evolve and how mutual learning among various schools of thought is organized. The "Security and Communciation Strategies between Doctrine Formation and Implementation" research field is designed to promote research targeting the ambiguous nature of the linkages of international and domestic security and the resulting doctrine formation in and its interaction with the practice of security policy.