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Unit information: Theoretical Approaches to Security in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Theoretical Approaches to Security
Unit code POLIM0029
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Joseph
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This unit provides students with an understanding of international security by means of a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches. The unit defines international security to include threats to groups as well as nations, to the biosphere as well as the polity, and from military to political, economic and environmental security. The unit therefore provides an introduction and overview to key theoretical, historical and policy issues in international security debates. It goes on to analyse how security has traditionally been treated by different academic and policy communities during the cold war, and examines the changing nature of security in a post Cold War context. It therefore provides a theoretical and conceptual foundation for the MSc in International Security.

Aims:

This unit aims to provide students with a theoretical and empirical understanding of security issues and debates. The principal aim of the unit is to equip students to understand and analyse security challenges from different theoretical perspectives and assess the core assumptions as well as advantages and disadvantages of these approaches The unit will therefore develop the student’s interest in and knowledge and understanding of the role of security actors at the international, national and sub-national levels; theories of how ‘new’ security challenges emerge and are advanced or dismissed and why; and theories of international relations in which security debates are located.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit students will:

  • acquire knowledge of security issues at the international, national and sub-national levels;
  • be able to understand and critically evaluate key debates in international security.
  • understand how ‘new’ security challenges emerge and are advanced or dismissed and why.
  • be able to apply knowledge to ‘key issues’ in international security.
  • be able to use knowledge acquired in the unit as a foundation for optional units in the MSc programme

Teaching details

Ten teaching weeks of 1 x 1 hour lecture plus 1 x 1 hour seminar. Students welcome to see unit owner during weekly office hour to discuss advice on presentations and essays.

Assessment Details

The final grade for the course will be based on the following:

Final Paper (4,000 words in length) 100% of mark

The assignment will address all the learning outcomes

Reading and References

    • Bourbeau, Phillippe (ed.) Security: Dialogue Across Discipline, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Campbell, D. (1998) Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity, revised edition, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
    • Fierke, K.M. (2007) Critical Approaches to International Security, Cambridge: Polity.
    • Krause, K. and Williams, M.C. (eds.) (1997) Critical Security Studies. Concepts and Cases, London: Routledge.
    • Huysmans, J. (1998) ‘Security! What do you mean? From concept to thick signifier’, European Journal of International Relations, 4:2, pp.226-255.
    • Peoples, C. and Vaughan-Williams, N. (2014) Critical Security Studies: An Introduction, 2nd edition, London: Routledge.
    • Sheehan, M. (2004) International Security: An Analytic Survey, London: Lynne Rienner.
    • Shepherd, L.J. (2013) Critical Approaches to Security, London: Routledge.
    • Smith, S. (1999) ‘The increasing insecurity of security studies: Conceptualizing security in the last twenty years’, Contemporary Security Policy, 20:3, pp.72-101.
    • Weldes, J., Laffey, M., Gusterson, H., Duvall, R. (eds) (1999) Cultures of Insecurity: States, communities, and the production of danger, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
    • Williams, P. (ed.) Security Studies. An Introduction, 2nd edition, London: Routledge.
    • Zalewski, M. (1996) ‘All these theories yet the bodies keep piling up’: theories, theorists, theorising’, in Steve Smith, Ken Booth and Marysia Zalewski (eds) International Theory: Positivism and Beyond, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.340-353.

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