In recent years, there has been a growing debate about the origins, development, and future of security studies. According to the dominant narrative, the end of the Cold War paved the way for a meta-theoretical divide in security studies between traditional and critical scholars. While the study of security in the United States continued to be dominated by realism and positivism, in Europe the disciplinary agenda became increasingly associated with the broader critical turn in social and political inquiry. This essay sets out to challenge that view by exploring the evolution of security studies in Portugal and the ways in which the main theoretical and empirical concerns changed after the Cold War. Building upon a bibliometric analysis of 1116 peer-reviewed articles published in 8 Portuguese journals between 1976 and 2019, the argument shows that while the end of the Cold War was followed by a diversification in the empirical concerns and referents of security privileged by security scholarship in Portugal, most of the security literature published since then continued to work within the traditional paradigm of security thinking. In addition to that, it underlines the importance of the institutionalization of the field and the emergence of new academic outlets in expanding the academic autonomy of security scholars by enabling them to engage with topics beyond the core priorities of Portuguese security practitioners and policy-makers.