International relations

Dirty Wars? Conflict and Military Intervention

Module code: L2056S
Level 6
30 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework, Essay

This module analyses what might loosely be called the 'new security environment' and its impacts on international relations. Specifically the course focuses on the role of 'hard power', its uses and limitations in the context of civil war, insurgency, the Global War on Terror and intervention. This will allow students to familiarise themselves with the causes and dynamics of intra-state conflict as well as the efforts that the international community makes to manage and resolve it. Using a number of theoretical lenses to study conflict and intervention the course is concerned with developing policy-relevant analysis of the security threats that have emerged since the Cold War.

You will be encouraged to think critically about the role of 'hard power' in world politics, applying some of your learning from your first and second year studies. However, the main emphasis of this course is to explain and understand conflict and its resolution from an empirical, pragmatic and policy-oriented perspective. In this sense, this module option is a 'nuts and bolts' analysis of new security challenges complementing the reflexive and philosophical approach that you may have seen in other courses. Intensive study will be required as many of the case studies and themes may well be new to you.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

Module learning outcomes

  • Develop a systematic and critical understanding of the competing international security theories that help explain and interpret the causes, conduct and outcomes of conflict and its resolution.
  • Develop a detailed conceptual understanding of the practical and policy related dilemmas that emerge out of international military intervention post 9-11
  • Effectively synthesise and communicate the empirical and theoretical uncertainties, ambiguities and limits of these security issues as they relate to military intervention post 9-11.