Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 11 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar Participation  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  40%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 500 word report in lieu of seminar participation  10%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Discuss key theoretical concepts in the study of international cooperation.
2. Discuss how these concepts have been applied to a range of concrete historical and contemporary cases.
3. Compare the utility of various conceptualizations of fear, cooperation and trust.
4. Identify key elements of processes leading states to conflict and cooperation.
5. Evaluate various ideas designed to enhance international cooperation.
6. Identify and discuss the ways in which alternative solutions to the problem of world order could be implemented.
7. Assess the limitations imposed by the existential condition of uncertainty on the behavior of states.

Brief description

This module explores key theoretical arguments about conflict and collaboration in international politics. It is built around three central concepts – fear, cooperation, trust – and examines how each shapes in various and different ways dynamics of interstate interactions. In addition to the strong theoretical dimension, it will allow students to apply these concepts to practical analysis of international processes and events, such as the cold war, climate change, or security communities. It draws directly on research which has been conducted in the Department by Ken Booth, Nicholas Wheeler and Jan Ruzicka.


The module will consist of a total of 11 sessions, 10 of which will be two-hour long seminars. The seminars will form 3 distinct, but related, blocs formed around the central concepts of fear, cooperation and trust covered in the module. The sessions will include discussion of:

The condition of uncertainty
Fear and international politics
Fear, uncertainty and the origins of the cold war
Fear, nuclear weapons, and deterrence
Cooperation under anarchy
Cooperation and climate change
Cooperation and nuclear nonproliferation
Trusting relations in international politics
Trust-building among adversaries
Trust and security communities

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn to present their ideas verbally and in writing and to present their arguments most effectively individually or as a group. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to use these effectively. 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. This module will particularly test aural and oral communication skills as it involves assessed seminar performance. Students will also be required to submit their written assignments 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. 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 the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and 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 and to use online sources appropriately when conducting research.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is intended to advance and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statements 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 written assignments 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; construct theoretical models; consider similar and dissimilar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research when working on their essays. This will involve utilizing mostly academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills The module will provide students with the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, analyze and evaluate examples and ideas about policy-making. These subject specific skills include: • Collection and understanding of a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluation of competing perspectives • Demonstration of subject specific research techniques • Application of a range of methodologies to various historical and contemporary national security policy-making cases.
Team work Students will engage in group activities during the seminars. For some of the topics on this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group.


This module is at CQFW Level 5