The concept of positive security appears more and more often in academic and public discussions. It presents a normative agenda for a non-repressive approach of security. In the article, it is claimed that the concept and its implications lack fundamental clarity. First of all, it is illustrated that the meaning of positive security primarily develops on the renouncement of negative security. Second, a historical comparison between the discipline of international relations and criminology discloses that different meanings have been assigned to positive security that seem at times at odds with each other. These frictions substantiate the view that it is problematic to accept positive security as an unequivocal recipe for change. Finally, the consequences of the disseminated structure of meaning are discussed in relation to the ambition of reform that positive security represents. For example, advocates of positive security do not seem eager to commit themselves to very clear normative views. This makes it difficult to really pin down what the suggested changes underlying positive security, are truly implying. Moreover, positive security invites us to extend the horizon of security politics to include various kinds of positive needs and values. But doesn’t this take us back to the initial criticism that the reach of the security concept has extended too much, covering virtually every aspect of life?
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