Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16 x 1 hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 8 x 1 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar Performance  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Discuss the nature of power in International Politics.
2. Describe and analyse the key features of effective coercive diplomacy.
3. Demonstrate, through written work and in seminars, an ability to apply theoretical models of coercion to a series of case studies.
4. Critically analyse the effectiveness of sanctions in altering the behaviour of states.
5. Discuss how states use costly signaling strategies to demonstrate resolve in international crises.
6. Illustrate and evaluate the behaviour of states being coerced by others in the international system.
7. Demonstrate, through written work and in seminar discussions, an awareness and understanding of the role of force in international negotiations.
8. Demonstrate an awareness of the linkages between domestic political institutions and foreign policy behaviour.

Brief description

The module will offer students the opportunity to learn about strategies that governments employ to alter the behaviour of other states in the international system. The students will learn about coercive diplomacy, the role of information and signaling in international crises, the effectiveness of sanctions and a variety of other theories. These theories will be employed to examine a series of historical and contemporary international crises. The course will focus upon Rhodesia , North Korea, the Iraq Crisis (1991 & 2003) and the Iranian nuclear program.


This module will
- Examine the nature of power in international relations.
- What is the definition of an international crisis?
- What strategies can states employ?
- Examine the impact of costly signaling on the behaviour of target states.
- Under what conditions are sanctions effective? What has been the historical record of sanctions? Do smart sanctions work?
- How does reputation affect coercive diplomacy? Does previous uses of force affect the likelihood of coercive success?
- Examine the role of intelligence operations and the support of opposition parties in target states.
- Examine the effect political institutions in both the initiator and target states upon the likelihood of coercive success.

Lectures and Seminars

1. Introduction: Crises in international politics?
2. Compellence and Deterrence
Seminar 1. Theorizing Coercion?

3. Costly Signals
4. Reputation
Seminar 2. Credibility and Coercion.

5. Sanctions and Smart Sanctions
6. Carrots or Sticks?
Seminar 3. Economic Statecraft.

7. Ethics of Coercion
8. Force: Airpower and Blockades
Seminar 4. Bullying states.

9. Crisis decision-making I. Rational and Non-Rational Models
10. Crisis decision-making II. Rational and Non-Rational Models.
Seminar 5. Decisions under pressure.

11. Modeling Coercion.
12. Rhodesia
Seminar 6.Computer Lab

13. Kosovo
14. Future Crises: North Korea
Seminar 7. Can North Korea be coerced?

15 Future Crises: Iran
Seminar 8. How do we solve a problem like Iran?
16. Conclusion


This module will examine the effectiveness of state diplomatic efforts to coerce other regimes. The course will be divided into two sections with an initial theoretical discussion and will then use a series of focused case studies.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Evaluation of statistical data on international sanctions effectiveness, international conflict and other research evidence presented as part of the course material.
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand 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 the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their 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. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
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 (such as Web of Science and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project 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; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
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 - Ability to evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.


This module is at CQFW Level 6