module specification

GI7069 - Security Studies (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Security Studies
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
 
155 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Regional Report
Coursework 60%   Research Essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

Defining security remains a difficult academic task and it is this ambiguous nature of the concept which forms the basis for this core unit. Security Studies is one of the most important sub-disciplines within the overarching field of International Relations (IR) and its close association to the theories of IR ensures a rich and vast array of subject matter. At the same time, however, it remains distinct in terms of its central objectives, theories and approaches despite being able to draw on International Relations for support.

Security Studies begins by addressing a number of fundamental issues, the most important of which is perhaps defining what we actually mean by the concept. This pursuit is dominated by debates between a variety of discourses: namely, those who seek to retain the discipline's focus purely on military conflict and those who argue that in a globalised world Security Studies needs to be expanded to a consideration of economic, environmental as well as social issues. This Module will seek to address these debates in the context of both national as well as international security issues. At the same time this Module will show that the debates between the traditionalists and the advocates of "new thinking" are having a profound impact on the discipline as both military and non-military issues begin to compete for the attention of academics and policy elites.

 

Prior learning requirements

None

Module aims

By the end of the module students will

  1. Appreciate what is at stake in security, both as a theoretical concept and as an ontological category.
  2. Gain an understanding of how the concept of security has been rearticulated and challenged in our contemporary context through an engagement with some of the most pressing issues of our day.
  3. Be able to question the ethical dimensions of the Westphalian order based on notions of sovereignty and narrow State interests and determine whether theories highlighting human emancipation need to be strengthened.
  4. Be able to demonstrate a good grasp of public policy, especially the processes and structures of decision-making in the area of international security.
  5. Be able to examine the contemporary themes in international security, such as the legacy of the Cold War, the impact of terrorism, the proliferation of dangerous weapons, the rise of great powers and the impact of globalisation.

Syllabus

PART 1: THE CONCEPTUAL BASIS OF SECURITY STUDIES

1. Traditional Definitions of Security. The State as the referent object.
2. Shifting the focus away from the State as referent object – deepening the concept and considering the individual. Critical Security Studies
3. Feminist approaches to security
4. Human Security

PART 2: TRADITIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS

5. The Causes of War
6. Collective Security, Peacekeeping, Peace Enforcement, and Humanitarian Intervention. Historical Evolution and Development. The promise or otherwise of Multilateralism.
7. The Theory of Deterrence and Nuclear Proliferation in the post-Cold War Era.

PART 3: NON TRADITIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS

8. Failed States, the “New Wars Thesis”, the impact of Globalization and the Private Security Sector.
9. Environment and Climate Change as a Security concern
10. Concluding Remarks. Present and Future Conflicts:

Learning and teaching

  • Learning and teaching combines lectures, seminars and workshops. Lectures and seminars will focus upon both contrasting IR theories and on contextualising the emergence and evolution of different schools of thought. Workshops will be used to develop students’ ability to explore research methodologies relevant to their own research interests. Teaching and learning will lay emphasis on students studying key texts.
  • Reflective and independent learning is encouraged through the research and writing of an Research Essay and a Regional Report, but also through interactive lectures and seminar discussions.
  • The module makes extensive use of blended learning, primarily through its dedicated Weblearn site. This includes interactive mail and discussion tools, module information, PowerPoint slides, full reading lists, and scanned copies of key texts.
  • Students will be required to attend all classes, to engage in the set activities, to prepare in advance by attempting assigned readings, to complete coursework by deadlines, and to reflect and act on the feedback they receive

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. Appreciate the rich diversity in current approaches to Security Studies
  2. Gain an understanding of the historical development of the discourses in Security.
  3. Assess the theoretical, historical, and scientific explanations for the causes of war.
  4. Evaluate the capabilities and limitations of military power as an instrument of policy.
  5. Understand the sources of conflict and co-operation in the international system.
  6. Gain an understanding of the place of Security Studies as a sub-discipline of International Relations.

Assessment strategy

  1. A take-home Regional Report: This assignment is designed to give students a high degree of flexibility in that it allows them to choose and define a geographical region and conduct detailed research into the security dynamics since the end of the Cold War. The students will be expected to analyse the region taking into account the conceptual and theoretical tools available within the discipline and this will enable the module leader to ensure that they have grasped the key issues in the various debates and can critically assess the strengths and possible weaknesses of the arguments of the protagonists in the debates: (2000 words – 40%)
     
  2. A take-home Research Essay: students are required to choose a question from a series of essay questions, conduct detailed research and write a concise and focused research paper which achieves in addressing the question directly. (2500 words – 60%)

Bibliography

Books

  • Jeff Haynes, Peter Hough, Shahin Malik, Lloyd Pettiford, World Politics: International Relations and Globalisation in the 21st Century, Second Edition, London, Sage, 2017.
  • Peter Hough, Shahin Malik, Andrew Moran, Bruce Pilbeam, International Security Studies, Theory and Practice, London, Routledge, 2015.
  • Alan Collins, Contemporary Security Studies, 4th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2015. 
  • Ken Booth, Theory of World Security, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • Barry Buzan and Lene Hansen, The Evolution of International Security Studies, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Jenny Edkins and Nick Vaughan-Williams, Critical Theorists and International Relations, London, Routledge, 2009.
  • Simon Malpas and Paul Wake, The Routledge Companion to Critical Theory, London, Routledge, 2006.

Websites

 http://www.japss.org/upload/18.Robinson[1].pdf – Critical Security Studies and the deconstruction of Realist Hegemony.
 https://issafrica.org/  - International Security Studies Africa
 http://www.iss.europa.eu/home/ - European Union Institute for Security Studies
 http://apcss.org/ - Asia / Pacific Centre for Security Studies
 http://www.tiss-nc.org/ - Triangle Institute for Security Studies