Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Governance and Human Security

First Advisor

Timothy M. Shaw

Second Advisor

Craig N. Murphy

Third Advisor

B. Jane L. Parpart


When the Cold War ended, there were high hopes for solid international peace. However, such optimism for global peace has been shaken by a series of grave crises: terrorism, ethnic cleansing, and nuclear crises. Even strong states face new kinds of threats to their national security, which are human security threats. Accordingly, the demand for human security has increased dramatically, while national security authorities’ supply of human security has failed to satisfy their citizens, who are security consumers. The main purpose of this thesis is to bring the “human” back into the study of national security, which has traditionally been inclined towards “regime-centric security.” While the concept of “human security” developed by the United Nations in 1994 can make considerable contributions towards unseating the traditional dogmas of national security, the currently available definitions of human security have serious limitations which keep discussions of human security out of mainstream discussions of national security in strong states. This separation is both logically and practically “wrong” in today’s changed social context and security environment, because the public demand for human security has increased rather than decreased. Having identified this problem, this thesis rethinks both human security and national security and develops a new framework, “human-centric national security,” which is analytically dissected into three dimensions: security of humans, for humans, and by humans. To apply this new analytic framework to the real world, this thesis reviews the national security policies of South Korea vis-à-vis North Korea for the period 1990-2017. Using this new framework, this thesis examines the usefulness of the concept of human security as a way out of the strategic dilemma facing South Korea with regard to its “main” military threat: whether North Korea should be defined primarily as enemies to kill or brothers to hug. This new approach begins with the understanding that North Korea poses complex problems that combine both national security and human security. This thesis argues that “human security,” if reframed as “human-centric national security,” can be fundamentally integrated into strong states’ national security policy frameworks, and can contribute to international peace by encouraging active engagement policies.


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