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

Postgraduate Course: Armed Force and Society (PGSP11245)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the relationship between armed force and society. A main focus will be on the on the role of technology in the politics and social dynamics of armed conflict. Technology, whether it be machetes or nuclear weapons, lies at the heart of conflict, and this course uses a range of perspectives, to investigate the nature and impact of armed force. These theoretical perspectives will be exemplified through the extensive use of case studies, and no prior theoretical or specialist technical knowledge is required. The course has a particular emphasis on nuclear weapons and the Cold War, but also covers issues such as terrorism, the arms trade, and the Revolution in Military Affairs.
Course description The following topics are indicative only and are subject change

Week 1: Introduction. Air Power and Intervention: The Examples of Iraq and Afghanistan
Week 2: Armed Force, War, and Societies
Week 3: Nuclear Weapons and the Cold War: Deterrence and the Arms Race
Week 4: Britain and the Bomb
Week 5: Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Week 6: Knowing the Properties of Weapons Through Testing and Use: the Case of Ballistic Missile Defence
Week 7: The Defence Industry and Arms Trade
Week 8: Weapons Development: The Technical Imperative, Rational Actor, and Bureaucratic Politics
Week 9: Cold War Society Science, Technology and Academia
Week 10: Terrorism and Technology
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 171 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One essay of 4000 words.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the course, students will have demonstrated through written work, oral presentations and other contributions in class, that they
- have a substantive knowledge and understanding of a selection of important policy and social issues with regard to the development and use of military technologies, and of the contending viewpoints and claims on these issues;
- can identify and characterise key approaches from social science disciplines and from interdisciplinary fields like science and technology studies to understanding and evaluating issues concerning military technology, and identify advantages, problems and implications of these approaches;
- can critically evaluate contributions to the academic, political and public debates on national security issues, and decisions on them;
- can identify, deploy and evaluate a selection of techniques and procedures used in defence policy analysis, decision-making and assessment;
- have developed their skills
- in finding and using arguments and information;
- in critically evaluating such material; and
- in essay writing and seminar presentation
Reading List
Indicative only, may be subject to change

A very short summary of issues to with military technology is Graham Spinardi, 'Weapons' in The Encyclopedia of Global Studies (Sage, 2011).

An excellent reader on technology in general, with a section on the military, is Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman (eds.), The Social Shaping of Technology (Open University Press, Second Edition, 1999).

A good readable history, that we will draw on particularly in weeks 1 and 2, is Max Boot, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History: 1500 to Today (Gotham, 2006).
Other useful historical surveys are William McNeill, The Pursuit of Power (Blackwell, 1983) and Martin van Creveld, Technology and War: From 2000 BC to the Present (The Free Press, 1989).

Barry Buzan and Eric Herring, The Arms Dynamic in World Politics (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998) provides the best coverage of the theoretical issues dealt with in the course.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Richard Brodie
Course secretaryMiss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122
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