This module provides an overview of theoretical perspectives on security, broadly defined. Drawing on classic and contemporary literature from International Relations and other academic disciplines, we consider the nature of security as a state-of-being or socio-political practice, and we inquire into a series of fundamental questions: security of what? Security for whom? Against what? Over what time period? By what means? At what cost? Throughout the module, attention focuses on what security means in theory and practice, what it could become, and what security should be about and why. The module is informed by ongoing research in the Department of Politics and International Relations (PAIR), and it complements other modules that explore global governance, global ethics, foreign policy, and military strategy. For students enrolled in the MSc International Security and Risk degree, the theory-driven approach in Security Theory complements the issue-based approach in Contemporary Security Challenges (PAIR6002).
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Critically assess the applicability of descriptive and normative security theories to past and present political challenges arising in world affairs.
- Identify, analyse and critique the political and/or ethical assumptions underpinning particular security policies and practices.
- Identify and explain contending theories of security.
- Demonstrate an ability to integrate theoretical and empirical knowledge when explaining or advancing arguments about security.
- Generate new, theory-driven ideas for responding effectively to claimed security problems.
- Distinguish between and engage in different modes of theoretical reasoning applicable to claimed security problems.
Drawing on ideas and information from within and beyond the academic discipline of International Relations, Security Theory explores the nature and purpose of ‘security’ as a state-of-being or socio-political practice. Through a series of in-depth, research-led seminars, student will have an opportunity to engage critically with a diversity of theoretical perspectives on security in a global political context. Theoretical frameworks to be explored in the module may include: realist and liberal perspectives; Marxist and feminist perspectives; constructivism and securitization theory; risk theory; security as biopolitics; emancipation and the idea of ‘human security’; strategic theory; and Just War theory.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Student learning will be achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, group-based tutorial discussions and debates, and independent study. Learning activities and assessment tasks are designed to encourage critical thinking, intellectual autonomy, and evidence-based argument.
|Guided independent study||126|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Simon Rushton (2011). 'Global Health Security: Security for Whom? Security from What?’. Political Studies, 4(779-796).
Arnold Wolfers (1952). ‘National Security” as an Ambiguous Symbol’. Political Science Quarterly, 67(4), pp. 481-502.
David A. Baldwin (1997). The Concept of Security. Review of International Studies 23, 23(1), pp. 5-26.
David Fisher (2011). Morality and War: Can War be Just in the Twenty-First Century?. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Michael Sheehan (2005). International Security: An Analytical Survey. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.
Thierry Balzacq (ed.), (2011). Securitization Theory: How Security Problems Emerge and Dissolve. London: Routedge.
Myriam Dunn Cavelty and Victor Mauer (eds.) (2010). The Routledge Handbook of Security Studies. London: Routledge.
C. A. J. Coady (2008). Morality and Political Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Barry Buzan (1991). People, States and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Columba Poeples and Nick Vaughan-Williams (2010). Critical Security Studies: An Introduction. Routledge: London.
Ken Booth and Nicholas J. Wheeler (2008). The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Barry Buzan, Ole Waever, and Jaap de Wilde (1998). Security. A New Framework for Analysis. Boulder: Lynne Reinner.
Ken Booth (ed.) (2005). Critical Security Studies and World Politics. Boulder CO: Lynne Rienner.
Annick T. R. Wibben (2011). Feminist Security Studies: A narrative approach. London: Routledge.
Michael Walzer (2006). Just and Unjust Wars: a Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. New York: Basic Books.
J. Peter Burgess (ed.) (2010). The Routledge Handbook of New Security Studies. London: Routledge.
Paul D. Williams (ed.), (2013). Security Studies: An Introduction. New York: Routledge.
Ronnie Lipschutz (ed.) (1995). On Security. Columbia: Columbia University Press.
Alex J. Bellamy (2006). Just Wars: From Cicero to Iraq. Cambridge: Polity Press.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External