This IDS Bulletin Archive Collection reviews four decades of analysis and research on peace, security, and development, drawing on articles published in previous issues of the Bulletin throughout this timeframe. IDS first began to investigate the relationship between disarmament and development in the 1970s. Then, research focused initially on disarmament and its actual and potential contributions to development.
Disarmament, along with reductions in military spending, it was argued, would release resources for development. It would also break the cycles of militarisation which propelled violent conflicts in many parts of the developing world. After the end of the Cold War, development research engaged more and more directly with conflict prevention and peace-building. The focus then turned towards security in a global context, in which donor agencies involved themselves directly with security questions. As shown by the articles in this edition, work at IDS has been distinctive in three respects: first, in interrogating the multiple meanings and forms of security – international, national, military, personal, livelihood, food, environmental, etc. – and how these interconnect, or indeed clash; second, in tracing the complex links between global, national, local, and personal security; and third, in its insistence that security be inclusive, drawing upon the experience and agency of the people and groups who are ‘developed’ and ‘secured’. The pieces reprinted in this Archive Collection help analyse shifts in focus over the four decades, before highlighting that it may be time to revisit disarmament, as a tangible policy goal, in these present times of chronic insecurity and increasing violence.