Mercenaries, Gangs and Terrorists: Private Security in International Politics (L7092S)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

You'll learn about the nature of security in international politics, from the non-traditional perspective of private actors who are willing to use force to advance the objectives that - for better or worse - they place a high value on.

You'll gain a theoretical context to develop your ideas about:

  • what 'security' is and how it relates to other values
  • why sovereign states are often treated as the starting-point for the study of global security
  • the ways in which the private use of force can be conceptualised as both a problem and a solution to security dilemmas
  • the ways in which actors in the global South face security challenges that are often unique from the challenges of those in the North.

You also study particular actors, issues and cases, including private military companies, gangs, political insurgency movements, and transnational terrorist groups.

You'll be challenged to think through the assumption that the private use of force automatically constitutes a threat that needs to be dealt with by sovereign actors, particularly at the international level.

Teaching

100%: Seminar

Assessment

30%: Coursework (Essay, Group presentation)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 300 hours of work. This breaks down into 36 hours of contact time and 264 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2018/19. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.

Courses

This module is offered on the following courses: