International Security

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Peter Trubowitz CLM.4.05 and Dr Milli Lake


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History, BSc in International Relations and Mandarin 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

The aim of this course is to give students a thorough introduction to the literature on international security, both theoretical and policy-oriented.  This course is organised into three main parts.  The first part 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 analysis the causes of interstate and intrastate war and conflict as well as the processes of conflict management, war termination, and peacebuilding.  The last part of the course takes up 'new' security issues, including humanitarian military intervention, terrorism and counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, and climate change.  By exploring these and related issues, students will gain a greater understanding of how different traditions of analysis, from mainstream studies of deterrence and war, to constructivist treatments of securitisation, to recent developments in critical security studies, think about international security and contemporary international 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 and an indicative reading list.  Feedback will be provided via email and/or individual meetings with students.

Indicative reading

Rita Abrahamsen and Michael Williams, ‘Securty beyond the State: global security assemblages in international politics’ International Political Sociology (3:1 2009), pp.1-17

Emanuel Adler, “The Emergence of Cooperation: National Epistemic Communities and the Intl Evolution of the Idea of Nuclear Arms Control,” IO 46 (winter 1992).

Tarak Barkawi and Mark laffey, ‘The Postcolonial Moment in Security Studies’, Review of International Studies (32: 2006), pp.329-352

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

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

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)

Columba Peoples and Nick Vaughan-Williams, Critical Security Studies: An Introduction (Routledge: 2010)

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.

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

Lene Hansen, Security as Practice: Discourse Analysis and the Bosnian War, London: Routledge: 2006)

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.

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. Anne 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.

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


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (50%, 2500 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Capped 2016/17: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

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