Besides the more obvious threats and impediments to human security posed by conflict or natural disaster, a central problem in examining and addressing multiple insecurities in Southeast Asia is at what level. Each country confronts a different context of human security and faces a host of intersecting circumstances that render situational day-to-day forms of precariousness difficult to recognise and interpret. How then are we to proceed? This article considers a range of social science concepts and approaches (which have not been brought together in this form before) and their utility for investigating human security in the region. It argues that more disaggregated and grounded perspectives can open the way for human security to gain fuller analytical purchase on contemporary marginality and precariousness in Southeast Asia.