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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Politics Short Name: POL517
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: CHAPPELL LC Dr (Politics)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability

Spring Semester only

Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark
( %)
Essay (2,500 words)
Unseen exam (2 hrs)
Seminar Presentations
Qualifying Condition(s) 
A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module.

Module Overview

The module expands and develops upon the issue of international security, as introduced in other modules. It begins by providing an historical overview of the field since 1945, paying particular attention to the shifts resulting from the end of the Cold War. This leads into a consideration of contemporary themes and their inter-relation. The concluding session suggests a variety of future scenarios for the development of security and defence.



Module Aims
  • To provide students with an opportunity to consider, analyse and debate a range of key current issues in international politics 
  • To develop a critical understanding of complex issues in international politics 
  • To apply social and political theories and models to the analysis of contemporary events 
  • To develop skills in researching fast-moving contemporary political issues, using periodicals, databases, newspapers, etc. 

To develop critical debating and argumentation skills.

Learning Outcomes
At the end of this module, students should be able to:
Knowledge and understanding
  • understand and critically analyse complex issues in contemporary politics
  • understand a range of theoretical models which can be applied to the study of contemporary political issues
Cognitive skills
  • gather, organise and deploy evidence and information from a range of different sources
  • analyse and synthesise a wide range of material in different formats
  • deal with complex issues systematically and creatively
  • construct reasoned argument
  • apply theoretical frameworks to empirical analysis
Practical skills
  • make appropriate use of information and communications technology 
  • form effective arguments
  • research current issues using a range of different sources 
  • debate current political issues
Transferable skills
  • communicate and present ideas effectively, orally and in written format
  • reason critically
  • use information and communication technology for the retrieval and presentation of material 
  • deploy a range of relevant research skills
  • make decisions in complex situations

take responsibility for own learning

Module Content
·          Introduction: International security and defence as theory and practice. 
·          Theoretical Understanding: Study and Causes of War, The end of the Cold War, causes and consequences, multipolar security architectures, the growth of international/global frameworks, US Hegemony
·          Actors diversity: multilateral security institutions, private military companies, role of non-state actors
·          Military Threats: Military reorganisation and refocusing, professionalisation and the embedding of new technologies, the current and future role of nuclear weapons. 
·          Soft Security: Peace-keeping and peace-making, crisis management as security enhancement, resources and demographics as security threats, the role of supranational and international bodies as coordinators and leaders. 
·          The ‘War on Terror’: Counter-terrorism as the new global imperative, sources and consequences of post-Cold War terrorism, the integration of counter-terrorism into traditional hard security frameworks, dealing with rogue states
·          Future Paths: Future scenarios for international security – consolidation or fragmentation? Clash of civilisations or the emergence of global norms? Where are the new cleavages and is contemporary security systems designed to deal with them?
Methods of Teaching/Learning

At the outset of the module, a range of topics and issues will be discussed and agreed with students. Students will then research a range of materials relating to these, and make presentations in class. Although there will be some focussing and specialisation, all students will be expected to investigate the full range of topics.

Selected Texts/Journals

This will vary according to the topics investigated. It is expected that students will make extensive but discriminating use of periodicals, databases, the contemporary press, and internet sources.

Last Updated

1 July 2010