The concept of human security has emerged in the post-Cold War world of the 1990s. It is a concept which, ever since its first appearance, has provoked a lot of criticism with regard to its analytical ambiguity and its political appropriateness. This article examines the historical and theoretical evolution of different security concepts (traditional, extended, common, comprehensive, societal and human) as well as the way in which they relate to one another. In particular, it shows how the different generations of security concepts broaden the relevant issues at stake and finally the reference object when changing the perspective. The conclusion that is reached in the article is that a narrow understanding of human security offers more and easier analytical value, while a broad conception serves better as a political leitmotif for concerted foreign policy-projects.