Handbook of Governance and Security
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Handbook of Governance and Security

Edited by James Sperling

The Handbook of Governance and Security examines the conceptual evolution of security governance and the different manifestations of regional security governance. In particular, James Sperling brings together unique contributions from leading scholars to explore the role of institutions that have emerged as critical suppliers of security governance and the ever-widening set of security issues that can be viewed profitably through a governance lens.
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Chapter 24: Counter-terrorism

Wyn Rees


In the words of Keohane and Nye, governance is ‘the processes and institutions, both formal and informal, that guide and restrain the collective activities of a group’ (Keohane and Nye 2000: 202). In the absence of an overarching system of authority between states, governance mechanisms enable states to engage in rule-based relationships over a specific issue for a sustained period of time. In the field of security, with issues of state survival at stake, this is a sensitive but also an important issue. If states cannot guarantee their own security, then cooperating with others becomes a vital self-interest. Regularizing that pattern of cooperation grants each participant an expectation of reciprocity and enables states to have confidence in abiding by the agreed constraints. Norms, either informal or codified, are at the heart of the concept of governance and stem from the shared beliefs that regulate and shape the behaviour of participating states. They help to formalize the patterns of cooperation between countries that might otherwise remain unique and unrepeated. They serve to tie states into reciprocal patterns of conduct that introduce predictable relationships within a given issue area. Over time this is likely to have the effect of socializing states and reinforcing their proclivity towards cooperation. The presence of a hegemonic state may play a special role in creating and shaping patterns of security governance.

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