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Critical Security Studies (Module)

Module description

*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.


  • To provide students with a detailed understanding of the debates about the meanings, practices and transformations of security after the end of the Cold War
  • To foster the capacity for the critical analysis of key concepts, theories and methods for the analysis of global, national and local security practices and their political effects
  • To engage critically with controversies over security and freedom, security and democracy, security and surveillance
  • To improve communication (oral and written), analytical, problem-solving and academic presentation skills to a level commensurate with progression to postgraduate study, through engagement with selected readings in whole-class discussion, collaborative group tasks, writing assignments and exams.

Learning Outcomes

  • To be able to develop reasoned analyses of changing security practices, the role of language and institutions in the transformation of security after the end of the Cold War.
  • To have the capacity to relate the theoretical and conceptual debates on security and insecurity to wider frameworks beyond the field of International Relations, drawing on conceptualisations of security from Anthropology, Criminology and Ecology, being able to recognise the controversies and tensions between and within practitioners and disciplinary fields in these labelling practices.
  • To be able to describe and illustrate various meanings of security, from human security to environmental security, be able to identify, analyse and communicate debates, principles and concepts relevant to the critical analyses of security practices, and exercise judgement in identifying the qualities and limits of practices of global, national and local security. 

  • To have acquired specialised analytical, evaluative, and generic problem- solving skills essential for progression to masters level study in International Relations, by undertaking research, comparing and selecting appropriate methods, techniques, criteria and evidence to explore data and identifying significant patterns and relationships, and be able to communicate ideas, both orally and in writing. 

  • To act with very limited supervision and direction, accepting responsibility for determining and achieving personal and group outcomes and adapting performance accordingly, showing awareness of professional codes of conduct and an ability to reflect on their own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback.

Staff information

Prof Claudia Aradau and Dr Emma Mc Cluskey*

Teaching pattern

Typically, 1 credit equates to 10 hours of work. For a Full  Year 30-credit module, this will equate to 40 hours of teaching time (2 hours per week) with 260 hours of self study.

Module assessment - more information

Coursework only*

Key information

Module code 6SSW0007

Credit level 6

Assessment coursework

Credit value 30

Semester Full-year

Study abroad module No