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Study information

Security Studies

Module titleSecurity Studies
Module codePOC2087
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Shubranshu Mishra (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will introduce you to the field of Security Studies, allowing you to critically engage with a range of contemporary practices in the current international system that are performed in the name of security. Popular and official discourse in contemporary international relations is littered with references to a need to protect and improve ‘security’? But what does that mean? How does an actor practice ‘security’? Does seeking more security make us less insecure? And is there a tension between securities and liberties? In this module, we will examine different theoretical and conceptual understandings of security and of security practices in international relations. You will have the opportunity to examine a range of issues, including: the politics and ethics of nuclear deterrence; the strategy of warfare; the ethics of torture and human rights, security and race; security and gender; the role of technology and the pre-emptive security practices of the War on Terror.

No prior knowledge skills or experience are required to take this module and it is suitable for specialist and non-specialist students.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will:

  • Introduce you to mainstream and critical perspectives on security practices in liberal democracies;
  • Encourage you to reflect on the meaning of ‘security’ and the normative implications of seeking security;
  • Train you in the skills to evaluate and constructively critique peers’ work.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe, contrast and analyse some competing theoretical perspectives on the meaning and practice of security in liberal democracies
  • 2. Apply theoretical approaches to the analysis of empirical and normative issues related to security practices in liberal democracies, and display a competent awareness of the limitations and implications of each perspective
  • 3. Use evidence to explain and defend the adoption of a particular theoretical and conceptual approach to the analysis of a security practice or issue

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Construct a logical academic argument supported by evidence
  • 5. Apply on abstract theoretical approaches to new contexts in order to make sense of real world problems
  • 6. Identify and apply a conceptual framework from some academic sources in order to answer an essay question, then explain the choice of this framework

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Formulate and present information and critical analysis in both written and oral forms in a coherent manner
  • 8. Understand assessment criteria, engage in constructive peer-evaluation, produce feedback and develop suggestions for improvement.
  • 9. Work effectively with peers in order to present ideas and facilitate discussions

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:  

  • "Security! What do you mean?"
  • Understanding Security through Insecurity
  • The Referent Objects: State, Individual, Race, Gender?
  • State Security and  Liberal Security
  • Emancipation and Intervention
  • Feminism and Sex
  • Postcolonialism and Development
  • Poststructuralism and Fear
  • Securitization and the Everyday

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities2211 x 2 hour seminars
Guided independent study83Research and preparation for seminars
Guided independent study45Revising and preparing for essays

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
News Item Presentation and Response20 minutes1-5, 7-8Oral/Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Mid-Term Essay301,500 words1-7Written
Essay702,000 words1-9Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Review EssayEssay (1,500 words)1-7August/September re-assessment period
EssayEssay (2,000 words)1-9August/September re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Peoples, C. and Vaughan-Williams, N., Critical Security Studies: An Introduction (London, Routledge, 2010)

Grovogui, Siba N. "Looking Beyond Spring for the Season: An African perspective on the world order after the Arab Revolt." Globalizations 8, no. 5 (2011): 567-572.

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press, 1963.

Baldwin, D. ‘The Concept of Security’, Review of International Studies, 23(1), (1997), pp. 5-26.

Annick. T.R. Wibben. 'Feminist Security Studies'. In The Routledge Handbook of Security Studies (Abingdon, Routledge, 2012)

Walt, S.'The Renaissance of Security Studies,' International Studies Quarterly, 35(2), (1991), pp. 211-239

Shilliam, Robbie, ed. International Relations and non-Western Thought: Imperialism, Colonialism and Investigations of Global Modernity. Routledge, 2010.

Enloe, Cynthia. Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics. Univ of California Press, 2014.

Sabaratnam, Meera. "Avatars of Eurocentrism in the Critique of the Liberal Peace." Security Dialogue 44, no. 3 (2013): 259-278.

Pasha, Mustapha Kamal. "Security as hegemony." Alternatives 21, no. 3 (1996): 283-302.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

CHALLENGE: A Research Project Funded by the Sixth Framework Research Programme of DG Research (European Commission) (

Critical Approaches to Security in Europe (c.a.s.e. collective):

Histories of Violence. (

The Disorder of Things

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Battle of Algiers (1966)

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Four Lions (2010)

Key words search

Security, Liberty, International Relations, Critical Security Studies

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date