This module provides students with an understanding of a range of issues that are frequently depicted as part of a new and broadening security agenda. The module emphasises security as a politically contested concept and category and encourages students to critically assess the nature of security claims being made on a range of issues – in particular to consider how security and threat are being defined, which objects of security are being prioritised, which agents are deemed most appropriate for dealing with different security challenges and which policy options are being prioritised.
The module is divided into three parts. Part one provides a theoretical introduction to the concept of security and alternative ways of theorising and conceiving security – including, for example, its apparent desirability. Part two focuses on tensions between state vs human security over a range of security issues (migration, health, development, energy and resources). Part three focuses on security challenges raised by various contested sites of security in the global commons (climate change and the environment, outer space, the high seas and Antarctica, global cultural heritage and cyber security). Although operating as a stand-alone module it closely complements the more theoretically oriented core module for the MA programme in International Security as well as complementing the module on The Changing Nature of War.
The objective of the module is to promote critical analysis of claims made about core issues frequently depicted as part of the broadened international security agenda. The module will do this by encouraging students to consider the politicised nature of many such claims and to consider whose security is being prioritised with what consequences. Students will learn to comprehend and work with the technical concepts and language of security studies, as well as to critically interrogate those concepts and the claims frequently made in their name. The module will be assessed through a 5,000 word essay.