Module Identifier IP37120  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Pauline Ewan  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Lecture   15 Hours. 15 x 1 hour lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   7 Hours. 7 x 1 hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  70%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2000 word essay  30%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
-Recognise the ways in which 'security' is an 'essentially contested concept'.
-Identify the actors and processes involved in framing the contemporary security agenda.
-Demonstrate familiarity with the key issues and debates in the contemporary literature on Security Studies.
-Analyse a range of military and non-military security issues and critically assess policy-makers' and other actors' responses to these issues.

Brief description

This module aims to provide an introduction to the key issues and debates surrounding the contemporary security agenda.


The module considers the actors and the processes that contribute to the framing of the contemporary security agenda. In particular, the module engages with the idea that the character of the contemporary security agenda does not reflect self-evident facts about the possible sources of insecurity in world politics. Instead, emphasis is placed on the processes through which particular issues may come to be defined as 'security' issues; the roles played by a range of actors in this agenda-setting process; and the relationship between the framing of issues and subsequent policy reponses to such issues.


The module is divided into two parts. The first part discusses a number of conceptual issues raised by current thinking about security. Competing ideas about the meanings of the term 'security' and different referents for security will be explored. The second part of the module provides an opportunity for students to analyse a series of military and non-military related concerns that can be considered to have security implications for world politics. These include: the ' war on terror', weapons of mass destruction, poverty, health and migration.

Transferable skills

In the course of this module, students will have the opportunity to acquire a wide range of transferable skills. In particular, the substantive content of the module will help students to develop an understanding of a variety of complex ideas and concepts, evaluate competing arguments, and practice their reasoning skills in relation to the analysis of empirical material. In lectures students will develop listening and note taking skills. The seminars will provide an opportunity for students to engage in discussion and debate and facilitate the skills necessary for working effectively in small group situations. The written assignment for the module will encourage students to conduct independent research and develop their writing skills. The examination will provide an opportunity to test these skills under time constraint conditions.

Reading Lists

** Essential Reading
Brown, Michael E. (ed.) (2003) Grave New World: Security Challenges in the 21st Century Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press
Hough, Peter (2004) Understanding Global Security London: Routledge
Teriff, Terry, Croft, Stuart, James, Lucy & Morgan, Patrick, M. (2003) Security Studies Today Cambridge: Polity Press


This module is at CQFW Level 6