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International Relations and Contemporary War 2: Problems and Issues (Module)

Module description

  • Induction and Orientation module
  • If studying War in the Modern World you must also complete History of Contemporary Warfare 1: the early Cold War, 1945–1975 and History of Contemporary Warfare 2: from Cold War to War on Terror, 1975-2011.
  • If studying International Relations and Contemporary War, you must also complete International Relations and Contemporary War 1: Theories and Concepts and International Relations and Contemporary War 2: Problems and Issues.

Study units

  • The Changing Character of War and Security
  • Globalization and International (Dis)order
  • Human Rights, Humanitarian Law and Intervention
  • Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict and the Politics of Identity
  • Conflict, Security and Development


This module builds on the knowledge and understanding of theories and concepts of International Relations and Contemporary War gained in the first core module and applies them to contemporary problems and issues. In the first unit, we will consider aspects of the changing character of war and conceptions of security. We move on in unit 2 to look at the structure of the international system and challenges arising from processes of globalisation. Our focus in unit 3 is on human rights and humanitarian intervention.  In Unit 4, we consider the politics of identity and the relationship between nationalism and war, and the dynamics of ethnic conflict. Finally, in unit 5, we consider the security and development nexus, focusing on aspects of the human security agenda, poverty and underdevelopment, the resource curse and state failure. In exploring these empirical themes, we will be applying the theories considered in the first core module. For example, ethnic conflict may be explained in Realist terms as the product of unstable regional balance of power dynamics, in Liberal terms as the result of illiberal 'hypernationalist' politics, and in Constructivist terms as the outcome of constructed fears of the ‘other’.

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

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

One-term course, 1 x 11 weeks

Module assessment - more information

All War Studies Online modules are 20-credit modules and will be assessed by:

  • 1 x 1500-word short essay
  • 1 x 3000-word long essay
  • In addition you will be assessed on participation within the discussions

Key information

Module code 7SSWM222

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 20 credits

Semester Semester 2 (spring)

Study abroad module No