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Responding to Terrorism (Module)

Module description

*Please note that although all module information is correct for the 2017/18 academic year, it is subject to change for future academic years.

Aims

This course provides students with an appreciation of the theoretical and empirical links between organisational and community responses to the phenomena of terrorism.  A combination of academic and practitioner presentations, coursework, and oral examinations will be used to facilitate the understanding of the impact of terrorism and responses to acts of terror on both health and government systems, as well as on individual and community levels. 

This course is specifically designed to take students beyond the discussion of extreme events, such as terrorism, through theories and models.  The presentations are designed to challenge and extend their thinking about and understanding how those theories and models play out in the real world when extreme events take place.  Similarly, students will gain a greater understanding of the policies and plans that spell out many of the steps and actions that organisations are supposed to take when preparing for and responding to extreme events, such as terrorism. The dynamic reality of extreme events, cultural differences within and between organisations, and much more, lead to responses that can be effective but not picture (or plan/policy!) perfect.  As a result, students on this course will be expected to learn much of the academic theory through the reading and essay assignments affiliated with this course.  Meanwhile, practitioners and policy makers from various organisations responsible for preparing for and responding to extreme events will share their knowledge, insights, and experiences of responding to such events.  This course is unique in its approach to identifying the theoretical assumptions and legal requirements for responding to terrorism, alongside open, frank exchanges with practitioners about the reality of practice. 

 The educational aims of the module are to:

  • Facilitate an understanding of the impact of public responses to terrorism on both health and government systems.
  • Facilitate an understanding of the impact of terrorism on both an individual (mental/physical health/behaviour) and community level.
  • Enable students to develop a critical awareness of the role of organisations in countering terror and increasing resilience in society.
  • Enable students to develop a critical awareness of the problems and challenges encountered by organisations responsible for responding to terrorism.
  • Enable students to understand the different information needs and concerns of emergency responders, health care providers, industry, government organisations, and members of the public for a variety of terrorist attacks.
  • Encourage critical reflection on counter terrorism approaches, the public acceptability of counter terror approaches, technologies and communications. 
  • Encourage critical reflection on the ways in which strategic interventions that incorporate public perceptions of risk and effective risk communication reduce vulnerability to terrorist acts, and facilitate greater governmental, organisational and community engagement in responding to the threat of terrorism.  

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this module students will be able to demonstrate:

  • Critical engagement with multiple forms of response to terrorism, and an understanding of the impact of those responses on organisations and publics.
  • A nuanced understanding of the governmental, organisational, societal and individual responses to terrorism.
  • A nuanced understanding of the importance of effective communication in building resilience and shaping appropriate protective health behaviours. 
  • A critical awareness of the role of trust, perceptions of risk, and risk communication in informing the public acceptability of counter terror policies and technologies.
  • An awareness of the different information needs and concerns of emergency responders, health care workers, and members of the public for different types of terrorist attacks. 
  • An ability to reflect critically on current counter terror policies and approaches, in order to assess their impact on government and society. 
  • An ability to reflect critically on current emergency response procedures for terrorist incidents in order to assess their impact on physical health, mental health, trust, perceptions of risk, community resilience and cohesion.  

Staff information

Dr. Brooke Rogers*

Teaching pattern

Typically, 1 credit equates to 10 hours of work. For a one term 20-credit module, this will equate to 20 hours of teaching (2 hours per week) with 180 hours of self study.

Module assessment - more information

Coursework only*

Key information

Module code 7SSWM023

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 20

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module No