International relations

War in International Politics

Module code: L2138
Level 5
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Workshop
Assessment modes: Coursework, Essay

This module introduces you to the central role played by war in international politics.

The module asks some fundamental conceptual, theoretical and methodological questions including:

  • What is war
  • What are some of the different ways we can study war?

We will explore the relationship between war and the formation of political and international systems, and discuss the role of war in building nations and empires. We will scrutinise different modes of struggles for independence and relate them to the functioning of the liberal international order. We will also look at the historical transformation of warfare and of the current varieties of warfare including:

  • civil wars
  • ‘new’ wars
  • asymmetric wars
  • wars of insurgency/counterinsurgency.

After completing the module, you will have a broad overview of how war is understood and studied in international relations, and will understand the changing nature of war and its legal, political and ethical aspects. 

Module learning outcomes

  • Develop a critical understanding of how war has been conceptualised over time.
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of various theories of war to contemporary and historical challenges in international relations.
  • Analyse and evaluate various approaches to the study of war as described by various thinkers.