Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science


Political Science

First Committee Member

Dennis Pirages, Chair

Second Committee Member

Mehran Tamadonfar

Third Committee Member

Jonathan Strand

Graduate Faculty Representative

Satish Sharma

Number of Pages



New and challenging threats to humans are currently on the rise. These threats to human well being have been neglected and ignored within the traditional conception of security. Security studies have mainly focused on traditional threats, mostly military and political. Although still important, this perspective lacks the ability to address nontraditional threats that are killing and injuring millions each year. Each year, millions die of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, hunger, and water related diseases among others. Although these threats are widespread throughout the world, Sub-Saharan Africa bears the brunt of these threats. This thesis proposes an ecological approach to security in Sub-Saharan Africa due to its high number of premature deaths and sufferings from environmental problems, infectious diseases and resource scarcity. Four Sub-Saharan African countries have been selected to demonstrate the various insecurities in the region. The ecological security approach, proposed here, will mainly look at the human being as the unit of analysis and tries to lessen premature deaths of people by creating an understanding of human relationships with the environment, other species, and each other.

The four countries selected for this study have shown similar results. In all four countries the number of people dying from infectious diseases and others far exceeds that of war and intentional injuries. Therefore, the thesis proposes that a new ecological approach to security is necessary for Sub-Saharan Africa in order to prevent and minimize the premature death and suffering of its citizens.


Africa; Sub-Saharan; Communicable diseases; Environmental protection; Human security


Defense and Security Studies | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Policy | Health Policy | Political Science | Public Policy

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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