Quantitative Methods in Critical Security Studies

Laura Sjoberg, Jeffrey Horowitz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter uses U.S.-led economic sanctions on Iran to demonstrate the utility of employing quantitative methods in critical, emancipatory analysis in Security Studies. It critiques the purely positivist application of quantitative tools that dominates the field, and suggests that quantitative (particularly mathematical) methods can serve critical ends. By way of an example, it uses game theory to demonstrate that a state’s sense of self (or ontological security) can incentivise the use of harmful sanctions against their own material interest (and against the interests of others). It then suggests other mathematical methods that would be useful in a critical analysis of the sanctions regime on Iran.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Approaches to Security
Subtitle of host publicationAn Introduction to Theories and Methods
EditorsLaura Shepherd
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780203076873
ISBN (Print)9780415680172, 9780415680165
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • methodology
  • quantitative
  • qualitative
  • positivism
  • postpositivsm
  • critical security
  • security studies

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