In:Security in Eastern Europe

Dr. Nadja Douglas (ZOiS)

Project description

In the context of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, security perceptions and discourses in Europe have changed considerably. In search of new strategies and answers to unprecedented challenges, classical security concepts have been overtaken by new approaches. These include important new questions about how to ensure access to particular resources such as food, energy, cultural capital, etc. and maintain trade and connectivity. At the same time, the overarching question of a sustainable peace and a new discursive, material and institutional security order in Europe strongly depends on how relations with and within Eastern Europe will evolve in the near future.

The project “In:Security in Eastern Europe” intends to address different aspects of security and insecurity, relying on critical/vernacular security studies as a theoretical prism. This implies going beyond conventional state-/military-centred notions of security. Instead, the focus will shift to regional/local security demands and needs. The aim is to shed light on how the Russian war and global security developments are perceived and have particular consequences at those levels. Thus, security perceptions in and perspectives from Eastern Europe will be the primary focus, in a deliberate decentring of the idea of a European security order.

A further aim of the project is to stimulate discussion between experts from academia and politics with practitioners from the field. Regular workshops will thus bring different perspectives together, and the planned reports will provide new and valuable impulses for further research but also for political decision-makers with a focus on Eastern Europe. Another objective is to build a new networking platform for researchers and practitioners and policymakers on questions of In:Security in Eastern Europe, integrating knowledge and expertise from the region.

Beyond the organisation of regular workshops, the project also hosts a research project on regional security perceptions in regions with security fault lines in the Baltics/Northern Europe, which will be carried out using audio-visual research and documentation methods.


Key Questions

  • How have perceptions and discourses of in:security, neighbourhood and borders changed since February 24, 2022?
  • Which new insecurities and threats have emerged and exacerbated ever since?
  • What new needs, demands and expectations in relation to security exist among different actor groups (contrasting perspectives of state, experts/think tanks, civil society/ordinary people)?

Methodology and Sources

  • Qualitative interviews
  • Document analysis
  • Workshops
  • Audio-visual methods of documentation

Project team