Vital Capacity And Human Securityas Conceptual Categories


The article shows the relevance of the security problem in the context of modern globalization processes associated with an increase in the range of risks and threats. The new approach to security proposed by the UN, the concept of human security, involves the implementation of impacts with the aim of increasing the subjectivity of each individual person, which is a factor in improving the security of the population as a whole. Based on the analysis of scientific works, the interconnectedness of the concepts of vital capacity and human security is presented. The concepts are not unambiguously interpreted; their conceptual, substantive, terminological frameworks remain blurred. Vital capacity is represented by a factor in the formation of adaptive coping strategies, a condition for overcoming stressful situations, an additional source of human development. Distinguishing features of vital capacity from “adaptability” are highlighted, the role of vital capacity as a state and as a process in the context of ensuring personal safety is reflected. Variants of the practical application of the concept of human security in the implementation of socio-political strategies are presented - “freedom from fear” and “freedom from hardships”. The dyad of vital capacity and human security is described on the basis of the relationship of cognitive and sociocultural components of concepts. In conclusion, a conclusion is drawn about the potential of vital capacity as a practical tool for ensuring human security, and a vector for further research on the cause-effect relationships of vital capacity and human security is defined.

Keywords: Vital capacityhuman securitycognitive component of the conceptsociocultural component of the concept


Modern globalization processes pose new risks and threats, covering all spheres of human activity. The tendency toward unification of the worldview of most of the world community is intensifying, which is associated with further manipulations of various kinds, the continuation of coca-colonization, the use of military force methods to reduce international threats, and widen the gap between rich and poor regions of the world (Karpovich, 2012). The loss of identity, the blurring of the framework of sociocultural interaction means the transition of globalization to the level of personality, which leads to the need to put into practice new approaches to human security, involving the development of empowerment for each person, expanding his/her ability to withstand the pressing challenges of our time. A similar alternative approach is the concept of human security (German: Menschliche Sicherheit), which, unfortunately, is today quite abstract due to its novelty and methodological ambiguity. In this article, we put forward the idea of the need to consider human security in a dyad with vitality - a multidimensional and integrative personality quality associated with a person’s high ability to cope with stress and develop adaptive coping strategies. The basis for comparing these concepts is the proximity of cognitive and sociocultural components, opening up opportunities for projecting applied solutions in the field of ensuring human security.

Problem Statement

States in the process of uncontrolled globalization are losing the position of "guarantors of security" and become "sources of threats." The position is gradually gaining weight that achieving absolute security is a priori impossible; only some threshold values should be determined that differentiate safety and risk (Busumtwi-Sam, 2008). The concept of human security implies a projection on prevention and potential resources that can have an impact on human development, no matter what level - individual, national, regional - the concept is refracted. At the same time, no practical tools for human security have been proposed, although the impact vector is defined quite clearly - a person as a subject of his life, included in different levels of sociocultural interaction. A similar tool can be the mechanisms of formation of human resilience, however, its relationship with human security is not adequately described in scientific papers. The research problem, therefore, lies in the contradiction between the need to search for practical tools to ensure human security and the lack of areas that consider the relationship between vital capacity and human security in a single coordinate system.

Research Questions

The study raised two questions:

  • What are the cognitive and sociocultural components of vital capacity and human security?

  • How are human security and vital capacity interconnected?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify the cognitive and sociocultural components of the concepts of “vital capacity” and “human security”, to designate its relationship to provide mechanisms for the development of vital capacity as a practical tool for ensuring human security.

Research Methods

The study is of a research-analytical nature and is aimed at identifying determinants that reflect the relationship of human security and vital capacity at the level of cognitive and sociocultural components of these concepts. The articles of modern authors on the consideration of vital capacity (Chruzik, 2020; Lavrusheva, 2020; Mitrofanova, 2018; Vorob'eva & Troshina, 2019; Zakernichnaya, 2016, etc.) and the description of the concept of human security, human development (Astashin, 2008; Bokeriya, 2017; Busumtwi-Sam, 2008; Chattu, Knight, Kevany, & Sehovic, 2019; Greenfield, 2018; Jaskulowski, 2017; Miteva, 2010; Puyenbroeck & Rogge, 2018; Su-ming, 2019, etc.) are analyzed.


There are no studies in scientific publications examining the dyad “vital capacity - human security”. Two concepts that have similar cognitive and sociocultural components are not actually considered in a single context, and each does not have clearly defined conceptual, substantive, terminological frameworks.

Analysis of “vital capacity” concept

The concept of “vital capacity” has been known in the scientific literature since 1975, but it is relatively new, since the consideration of vital capacity today has gone beyond the limits of existential psychology and its semantic coloring has fundamental differences. The English term “hardiness” does not have an accurate translation into Russian; as an alternative synonym, other scientists proposed the concept of “vital capacity”. At the same time, the understanding of vital capacity is characterized by pluralism in both foreign and domestic studies. In most scientific works, vital capacity is interpreted as an integral property of the personality, which allows us to develop the most effective coping strategies and overcome the effects of stress, the occurrence of which is associated with difficult life circumstances.

The concept of resilience is close enough to the concept of “adaptability”. However, the latter to a greater extent reflects the adaptability of a person, which does not exclude the general passivity of the adaptation process. Vital capacity, on the contrary, means endurance, which implies the presence of a certain personal resource to overcome any difficulties of life. Depending on the parallel of consideration, vital capacity may include adaptation, self-determination and self-development, the implementation of a person’s life mission. In other words, the concept of vital capacity is more meaningful in cognitive and sociocultural contexts than “adaptation”. This is not only knowledge about oneself, one's capabilities and resources (the cognitive component), but also the person’s ability to overcome various difficult life circumstances, taking into account the characteristics of the interaction environment (sociocultural component).

According to Muddy, vital capacity includes three interconnected attitudes that determine the interaction of a person with the social environment - involvement, control, challenge. Vital capacity means that a person has “ontological anxiety” - a kind of fear of being, which allows you to make decisions in favor of the future (Mitrofanova, 2018). Vital capacity is defined in two ways - as a state and as a process. In the first case, it represents a special adaptive quality of a person that correlates with aspects of endurance, psychological stability, and social “toughening”. In the second case, we are talking about the result of the impact of the summarized biological and social qualities of development, and the impact of the social environment has a dominant position. In this context, vital capacity should be understood as an internal resource that determines a person’s ability to develop values, develop skills, form a system of principles and attitudes of a positive attitude, which together is a factor in improving the quality of life.

At the same time, vital capacity is a rather flexible quality, a source of additional growth and development, the individual components of which can be transformed. Vital capacity reflects the subjectivity of a person, the ability to build a unique life trajectory and independent social functioning, which means that it affects his personal safety.

Analysis of “human security” concept

The concept of “human security” is quite debatable, has broad conceptual boundaries and can be considered in any research vein, since its content is actually unregulated, and the terminological framework is blurred. The complexity of the concept lies in the confusion of its scientific interpretation with socio-political interpretations. The first definition of human security was given in a 1994 UN Human Development Report. The concept of human security represents a fundamentally new approach to security: the security of each individual is the guarantor of the security of all mankind, therefore, the quality of human life is the basis of social well-being. Human security is differentiated from concepts based on risk-based knowledge, concepts of social security (Social security), concepts of national security (National security). The cognitive component of human security can be described as “I know that I have equal opportunities to develop my potential” and “I know that I am protected from risks and threats of a various nature”.

The sociocultural content of the concept of human security today is associated with all kinds of scholastic disputes. In fact, there are two global areas of human security - “freedom from fear” and “freedom from hardship”.

The first direction, implemented in the political strategies of Canada and Norway, involves the implementation of activities to protect individuals from military conflicts and violence, organizing assistance in emergency situations, preventing social conflicts at various levels, and peacekeeping. In other words, the aim is to protect the population from genocide and the threats of civil war.

The second direction - “freedom from hardship” - reflects the socio-political position of Japan and involves the prevention of violence, poverty, environmental degradation, ensuring equal opportunities and access of all categories of the population to knowledge. In this case, we are talking about the possibilities of participation of the population in diverse activities in order to improve the quality of life.

Despite the fundamental differences in these areas of human security, the general idea is human development, combining well-being, welfare, human dignity. The essence of human security is close to human development, but is not comparable with this concept, since they have an expressed connection. So, according to Busumtwi-Sam J., human security is a condition of human development, and the latter will contribute to human security. In other words, it is difficult to achieve human development when the minimum or basic conditions for human security are not created.

Human security is not reducible only to the level of a certain individual, but involves the implementation of influences at different levels:

  • personal security - human protection;

  • community security - preservation of the traditional culture and ethnic component in the context of the living environment / region / ethnic group;

  • state security - ensuring the implementation by a person of civil rights and freedoms.

Thus, the sociocultural component of human security involves exposure at all levels - from the individual to the state, and from everyday security, protection of emergencies to expanding the space of social and personal development of a person, the implementation of civil and human rights and freedoms. The above answers the question of what level of human security is the most important - individual, national, global. Since human security is “the sum of each person’s security”, it is necessary to influence the individual’s ability to security, to bet on the development of human vital capacity, which is a condition for the formation of unique adaptive coping strategies and a factor in overcoming stressful situations.


As a result of the study, we came to the conclusion that the formation and scientific evidence of a new approach to human security is required, which involves the consideration of vital capacity and human security in a dyad, which opens up opportunities for collaboration and cooperation of various structures at the individual, national, global levels. Further studies should be carried out to identify causal relationships between the two noted concepts, which can be designated as conceptual categories. Vital capacity in this dyad is not much a concept but a practical tool, the application of which in social practices opens up opportunities for increasing the level of human security. The latter, in turn, becomes the background for enhancing vital capacity, which contributes to human development.


The study was conducted within the framework of the grant RFBR 18-00-00813 "Patriarchal world and factors of population's vital capacity during the" long war " of 1914-1920".

The authors of the article thank the organizing committee of the conference “Word, utterance, text in cognitive, pragmatic and cultural aspects” for the opportunity to present the results of the study at the international level.


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03 August 2020

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

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Sergeevna, M. L., Alexandrovna, M. L., & Igorevna, T. T. (2020). Vital Capacity And Human Securityas Conceptual Categories. In N. L. Amiryanovna (Ed.), Word, Utterance, Text: Cognitive, Pragmatic and Cultural Aspects, vol 86. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1447-1452). European Publisher.