Human Security and the Responsibility to Protect

This course examines two important concepts within the contemporary international security landscape: Human Security and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

While Human Security seeks to shift the focus of security from the state to
the individual, R2P can be described as a norm, which is based on the notion that state sovereignty is not a privilege, but a responsibility. Together, these concepts challenge the way we understand security, the state, and the rules of the
international system. Therefore they are of great interest for both practical and academic reasons.

This course does not engage in advocacy, but instead seeks to create a deeper understanding of these concepts – where they come from, how they have been developed, and how they relate to theories of strategy, the state, and international politics. Human Security and R2P will thus be critically examined from an academic as well as a practical standpoint by asking questions about their utility for the academic study of international affairs; for policy-making at the national and international levels; and for strategic and operational planning and implementation.


Dr Jenny Hedström is Associate Senior Lecturer in War Studies at the Swedish Defence University. Jenny holds a PhD in International Relations from the Monash Gender, Peace & Security Centre, Monash University, Australia. Jenny was most recently employed as a postdoctoral researcher in Gender Studies at Örebro University, and previously worked under the Varieties of Peace Programme at Umeå University, focusing on everyday peace in Kayah State and Mon State (Myanmar).

Jenny’s research concerns the relationship between households, gender, and warfare; gender, transitions, and peace building; and women’s activism and resistance, with a focus on civil war(s) in Myanmar. She has also published on feminist methodologies and ethics in the study of peace and conflict.