The aim of this module is to provide students with a critical introduction to debates about the changing nature of war in the contemporary age. In doing so the module reflects on social, economic, politico/normative and technological pressures that are often understood as fundamentally impacting on the nature of contemporary conflict. Although operating as a stand-alone module it closely complements the more theoretically oriented core module for the MA programme in International Security.
The objective of the module is to promote critical analysis of claims made about the changing nature of war and conflict in the contemporary age. The module will do this by encouraging students to critically reflect on the extent to which claims about transformation can be upheld and the extent to which such claims (and the transformations they ostensibly identify) raise important political and ethical questions about both the nature and quest for security.
The module begins with a session considering the nature, causes and attractions of war and processes of militarisation in society. This provides the theoretical basis for subsequent sessions focused on a range of issues and claims made about the transformation of war. This includes sessions on: the Military Industrial Complex and the arms trade, nuclear weapons, New Wars, ethnic and hybrid war, technology and virtual/virtuous war, international terrorism, humanitarian war, the privatisation of war and the changing nature and role of (UN) peace operations.
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 about contemporary war and conflict. The module will be assessed through a 5,000 word essay.