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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: International Security (PGSP11162)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe principal aim of this course is to introduce students to the most significant dimensions of contemporary approaches to security from a constructivist perspective, broadly understood, by contrasting them with more traditional understandings of security. The field of security studies has undertaken a constructivist turn over the past 25 years reflected in the broadening and deepening of what constitute a security issu. It has moved from purely military questions to other issues such as the environment or migration, and from a systemic or state level understanding to the individual (human security). The course starts by first engaging with how scholarly and practical understandings of security have evolved in the past decades. In order to do so, the course presents some key scholarly developments in the evolution of security studies, most notably showcasing the difference between more rationalist approaches with constructivist ones. The course then presents major constructivist approaches to security ┐securitization, poststructuralist and post-colonial theories and the production of danger, the practice approaches to security and feminist security studies. Empirical sessions will further help students to engage with central issues such as the Iranian nuclear threat, contemporary peacebuilding missions, the ambiguous role of private military and security companies and counter-terrorism. The goal is not only to learn how these approaches can be used to answer empirical research questions, but also to discuss how these 'new' approaches to security relate to 'mainstream' approaches, how they improve our understanding of contemporary security issues as well as their limitations/challenges.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  80
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course you should have:

- An extensive knowledge and critical understanding of some of the major approaches in constructivist security studies;
- A reflexive intellectual grasp of some of the most challenging security issues today;
- An ability to apply specialised skills and analytical tools to a variety of empirical cases;
- To identify, conceptualise and define abstract problems and issues related to security;
- Transferable research skills such as advanced analytical thinking and communication skills.
Assessment Information
This course is assessed by:

10% Seminar attendance and participation.
40% Book Review of up to 1,500 words
50% Essay of up to 2,500 words
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Introduction
Nuclear Strategy, Arms Control and WMD Proliferation: Realism, Liberalism and Social Constructivism
Understanding the Nature of Modern War: Old Wars or New Wars?
The Environment: Securitization and the New Security Agenda
Terrorism and Irregular war
Intelligence, Misperceptions and Security
International Interventions: Critical Security Studies
Counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan
The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Conflict Resolution
A Framework for Thinking About International Security
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Roland Dannreuther (2007) International Security: The Contemporary Agenda (Polity).
John Baylis et al. (2010) Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies 3rd Edition (Oxford University Press).
Collins, A. (ed.) (2010) Contemporary Security Studies, 2nd edition,. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Williams, Paul (ed) (2008) Security Studies: An Introduction, Routledge
Michael E. Brown et al (2005), New Global Dangers: Changing Dimensions of International Security
Barry Buzan, People, States and Fear: An Agenda for Security Studies (1991)
B. Buzan, O. Waever and J de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis (1998)
Keith Krause and M. Williams (eds), Critical Security Studies 1996
Bill McSweeney, Security, Identity and Interests: A Sociology of International Relations (Cambridge Studies in International Relations), CUP 1999
Michael Sheehan, International Security: An Analytical Survey
Michael E Smith, International Security: Politics, Policy, Prospects, Palgrave 2010
R Wyn-Jones, Security, Strategy and Critical Theory,1999
Joseph Nye, Understanding International Conflicts (2000)
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Xavier Guillaume
Tel: (0131 6)50 3937
Course secretaryMrs Gillian Macdonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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