International relations

The Politics of Terror

Module code: M1014A
Level 6
30 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework, Essay

This module addresses the relationship between fear, security and identity in international politics. Typically, security is taken to defend already existing identities such as the national interest or the integrity of the environment. However, during this module you will explore the argument that security constitutes identity in relation to fear. That is to say, rather than simply defending extant entities, discourses of security produce novel identities. These identities are produced in relation to perceived fears. The question thus becomes how are fears constituted and what identities are secured against such perceived threats?

The module will begin with an examination of the nature of fear and identity in international politics. The remainder of the module will comprise an examination of the broadened security agenda of the post-Cold war era. The purpose of this examination will be to show the multiple ways in which fear is mobilised and the manifold identities thus produced. The consequences of such fears and identities will be examined in relation to cases such as ethnic nationalist conflict.

Module learning outcomes

  • Develop a detailed conceptual understanding of the empirical and theoretical uncertainties, ambiguities and limits shaping the way terrorism has been affected by and impacted on national, international and global politics.
  • Develop a systematic and critical understanding of the central literatures, concepts and theories used in the study of terrorism, counterterrorism and political violence.
  • Effectively synthesise and communicate a detailed and historically informed analysis of the uses of terror by state and non-state actors in the modern world.