Security as an Emergent Property of a Complex Adaptive System

Manu Lekunze* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Security in Africa continues to be problematic to both scholars and practitioners. Its study often takes an itemised approach where actors are studied in detail and security outcomes are linked to the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of actors. Perceived and actual security threats are correlated to conflict or presented as causal factors of conflict. In other words, security provision is explained through an itemised and reductionist analysis of security actors. In the past few decades, it is increasingly evident that non-linearity is pervasive in all forms of social organisation. This article rejects the Newtonian paradigm. It is argued that security is often a product of a system, which can be a complex adaptive system (CAS). It contends that a resilient security system guarantees a minimum level of security. To support this argument, empirical evidence from Cameroon is used to prove that Cameroon’s security system is a CAS. The conceptualisation of Cameroon’s security system as a CAS enables the application of both complexity science and resilience perspectives to security analysis. These perspectives allow the argument that Cameroon’s security system is resilient. The characterisation of Cameroon as fragile, failing or failed is rejected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6
JournalStability: International Journal of Security & Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2019


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