Denying the centrality of the state destroys all hope of changing it. We must analyze state policy in order to understand it and reorient it Krause & Williams, 1997 Prof. Political Sci. at Geneva Graduate Institute of Int’l Studies and Asst. Prof. Political Sci. at University of Southern Main [Keith and Michael, Critical Security Studies, Pg, XV-XVI]
These (and other) critical perspectives have much to say to each other in the construction of a critical theory of international relations and, in turn, to contemporary security studies. While elements of many approaches may be found in this volume, no one perspective dominates. If anything, several of the contributions to this volume stand more inside than outside the tradition of security studies, which reflects our twofold conviction about the place of critical perspectives in contemporary scholarship. First, to stand too far outside prevailing discourses is almost certain to result in continued disciplinary exclusion. Second, to move toward alternative conceptions of security and security studies, one must necessarily reopen the questions subsumed under the modem conception of sovereignty and the scope of the political. To do this, one must take seriously the prevailing claims about the nature of security.
Many of the chapters in this volume thus retain a concern with the centrality of the state as a locus not only of obligation but of effective political action. In the realm of organized violence, states also remain the preeminent actors. The task of a critical, approach is not to deny the centrality of the state in this realm but, rather, to understand more fully its structures, dynamics, and possibilities for reorientation. From a critical perspective, state action is flexible and capable of reorientation, and analyzing state policy need not therefore be tantamount to embracing the statist assumptions of orthodox conceptions. To exclude a focus on state action from a critical perspective on the grounds that it plays inevitably within the rules of existing conceptions simply reverses the error of essentializing the state. Moreover, it loses the possibility of influencing what remains the most structurally capable actor in contemporary world politics.