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Third World Quarterly. Volume 27, Number 5 (2006), p. 855-869.


In the aftermath of the military conflicts of 1936 - 45, there seemed to be a global renunciation of war as an instrument of state policy. Shortly thereafter, however, decades of ideological attrition between the major powers and the inherent perversion of postcolonial states reduced the solemn declarations of 1945 to ineffectual rhetoric. Underpinning the decline and demise of a human-centred approach to global peace and security is the enduring notion of the civilised self and the barbaric other. The polarisation of humanity between camps of the savage and the civilised has continued to animate international policy making despite denials. This paper argues that a rejection of the polarities is imperative for the success of the emergent concept of human security.

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