Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
War, State and Society
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 8 x 1 Hour Seminars
Lecture 16 x 1 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour pre-seen exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour pre-seen exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Critically analyse different elements in the relationship between war, the state, and society.
2. Discuss critically and in detail key elements of the debate regarding state sovereignty and monopoly over the use of force.
3. Critically evaluate the significance of the military, political, and social impact of various ‘military revolutions’.
4. Demonstrate an ability to question and problematize settled ‘truths’ and assumptions about political order, violence, and our knowledge of these.
5. Demonstrate an ability to present a coherent, well-informed argument grounded in rigorous scholarship.


Content includes: approaches to studying war and the state; violence, sovereignty and state formation; ‘mercenaries’, ‘contractors’, and ‘pirates’; asymmetric, colonial, and low-intensity warfare; nuclear weapons; nationalism; and war and the democratic state.

Brief description

This module critically engages with the concept of ‘military revolution’ by exploring the interplay between changes in the military, political, and social realms. Drawing on works from historical sociology, political thought, political sociology, military history, and international history, the module explores ‘military revolutions’ from different eras, contrasting these with more limited ‘revolutions in military affairs’, and ensuring a global, non-Eurocentric perspective throughout. In so doing it discusses topics such as: the role of war in state formation; the evolution of military administration and logistics; the interplay between war, finance, and the broader economy; debates over private force; the role of nationalism in both war and the state; technological development; and the figure of the soldier as combatant, citizen, and subject.


The module aims to introduce students to the dynamic relationship between war, the state, and society. In so doing it will encourage students to consider: the association between politics, authority and violence; the impact of war on our social and political institutions; the role of individuals and populations in war; the impact of changes in warfare, politics, culture, and economics on each other; and the legacies of war(s) on states and societies.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework. The need to meet coursework deadlines will focus students’ attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay and preparation for seminar discussions will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for all elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques • Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems.
Team work Students will undertake group exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6