International Security

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Milli Lake CLM 4.12


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course offers students an introduction to the literature on international security, from both theoretical and policy-oriented perspectives. This course is organised in three parts.  The first introduces students to the concept of security, examines competing theoretical approaches to international security, and considers how the field has changed over time.  The second section of the course analyzes the causes of interstate and intrastate war and conflict as well as the processes of conflict management, duration and termination.  The final component of the course explores a range of emerging and policy-relevant security issues, including humanitarian military intervention, terrorism and counter-terrorism, peacebuilding, and climate change.  By exploring these and related issues, students will gain a greater understanding of how different traditions of analysis, from mainstream approaches to war and deterrence, constructivist treatments of securitisation, and recent innovations in critical security studies, think about contemporary security issues.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Classes are compulsory.  Students will be expected to contribute to class discussions and present papers each week.

In line with departmental policy, students on the course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will submit two formative essays: one in Week 7 of the MT; one in Week 2 of the LT.  Students may use these to develop ideas for their summative essay.

Students will submit a 2 page outline of their assessed essay in the LT.  This will consist of a research question, an overview of the argument, a draft structure and an indicative reading list.  Feedback will be provided via email and/or individual meetings with students.

Indicative reading

Ana Arjona. 2017. “Rebelocracy: A Theory of Social Order in Civil War” (Kellogg Working Paper)

Ken Booth, Critical Security Studies and World Politics (Reiner: 2005)

Barry Buzan, Ole Waever and Jaap de Wilde (1998), Security: A New Framework for Analysis, (Boulder, CO.: Lynne Rienner: 1998)

Jessica Chen Weiss. 2017. “China and the Future of World Politics” Perspectives on Politics, 486-494.

Carl von Clausewitz; Michael Eliot Howard and Peter Paret, editors (1976) Chap. 1.1-1.2 In von Clausewitz On War, 75–99

Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler (2004) “Greed and Grievance in Civil War”, Oxford Economic Papers 56(4)

Michael W. Doyle, “Liberalism and World Politics,” in Betts, Conflict After the Cold War. James Fearon, “Rationalist Explanations for War,” IO 49/3 (1995): 379-414.

Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink. 2001. "Taking Stock: The Constructivist Research Program in International Relations and Comparative Politics." Annual Review of Political Science 4: 1, 391-416

Robert Jervis, “Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma,” in Betts, Conflict After the Cold War.

Stathis Kalyvas, (2005) The Logic of Violence in Civil War, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Peter Katzenstein, ed, The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics, New York: Columbia, 1996.

Lisa Martin and Beth Simmons. 2002. “International Organizations and Institutions” in Handbook of International Relations. Oxford University Press

Roland Paris, “Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?” International Security 26:2 (fall 2001): 87-

Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence, Yale, 1966, chs 1-5, pp. 1-220.

Laura Sjoberg, Gender, War and Conflict (Polity: 2014)

J. Ann Tickner, "Re-Visioning Security," in Ken Booth and Steve Smith, eds., International Relations Theory Today, Penn State, 1995, pp. 175-97.

Stephen Walt, “The Renaissance of Security Studies,” International Studies Quarterly 35, 2 (1991): 211- 239.

Barbara Walter. 1997. “The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement.” International Organization, Vol. 51: 3, 335-364.

Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy is What States Make of It,” in Betts, Conflict After the Cold War.


Exam (40%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (60%, 2500 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2017/18: 61

Average class size 2017/18: 12

Capped 2017/18: Yes (65)

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication