International relations

Security and Insecurity in Global Politics

Module code: L2061N
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay

Security is central to the issue agenda of international relations. Traditionally security has been understood to comprise the question of the protection of sovereign territory through armed force. Security has thus examined issues such as arms races, war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Traditionally these issues were addressed through a realist lens that regarded the state and its survival as the central conceptual maxims. However, contemporary scholarship concerning security has broadened this agenda considerably. New sources of insecurity have emerged outside the traditional state form, as can be seen in the rise of issues such as terrorism as well as wider 'complex emergencies' on the international security agenda. Moreover, the conceptual lenses for examining these questions of (in)security have also multiplied, giving rise to new referent objects of security and a wider security agenda encompassing issues such as identity, genocide, and the environment. This module introduces you to the broad issue agenda that shapes the contemporary study of (in)security. Each week it will focus on a different issue that defines the agenda of International Security.

Assessed by a 3,000-word essay.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand different concepts of security.
  • Critically examine a variety of contemporary security issues.
  • Understand the manner in which theoretical perspectives have been applied to examine these international security issues.