Security in international relations

This course provides insights and understanding of order and stability both within and between states. A common misunderstanding is to equate security with defence, but the security agenda is much broader than this and now includes alongside questions of force and military preparedness, problems and policies to do with human and minority rights, migration, poverty, the environment, and other societal issues. Security in international relations is increasingly concerned not only with the safety of states but also of the peoples within them. What students take away from this course is an understanding of security as a core value of human life and an awareness that security policies will vary depending upon how one answers the key questions: security in (or of) what; security from what; and security by what means.

The aim of this course is to:

  • introduce students to the central concepts in security studies 
  • develop students’ comparative skills of analysis of differing security policies in practice
  • promote critical engagement with the security studies literature and enable students to display this engagement by developing their ability to present, substantiate and defend complex arguments.

At the end of this course and having completed the essential reading and activities students should be able to demonstrate:

  • a critical understanding of the issues involved in security policy decision making
  • an understanding of the contexts, pressures and constraints with which security policy-makers have to deal
  • an ability to engage in comparative analysis of security policy without losing a sense of historical

For full details of additional essential readings, please refer to the reading list.

  • Bain, W. (ed.) The Empire of Security and the Safety of the People. (London: Routledge, 2012) first edition [ISBN 978-0415514217]
  • Buzan, Barry People, States and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post Cold
    War Era. (London: Pearson, 2007) second edition [ISBN 978-0955248818]
  • Hough, Peter Understanding Global Security. (London: Routledge, 2018) fourth edition [ISBN 978-1138726833]
  • Economides, Spyros and Mats Berdal (eds) United Nations Interventionism, 1991–2004. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) [ISBN 978 0521547673]

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