by Laura Schelenz
In recent years, Ontological Security Theory (OST) has been established as a new theory in the field of International Relations. The theory seeks to explain state behavior, and offers a new perspective on the security dilemma and the persistence of conflicts. It has proven itself helpful in explaining seemingly irrational state behavior such as an aggressive foreign policy by weak states or the provision of humanitarian aid by powerful nations. OST further allows scholars to analyze norm-violating behavior of states, for instance the use of torture at the hands of Americans in the War on Terror. If you have not engaged with the theory before, you might want to learn about its core arguments as well as its potential and limitations in the following. For those who know the theory well, let me show you how the theory was key to gaining new insights in my research.