Contemporary Critical Security Studies
Full course description
Security Studies during the Cold War was a rather limited and narrow sub-field of International Relations mainly focusing on state security and defining threat only in military terms. By the end of the Cold War period, new schools of thought have emerged in the field of Security Studies in parallel with the emergence of new kinds of threats against human well-being and security. Today, Contemporary Critical Security Studies represents a large group of scholars, schools, approaches and understandings. This course deals with a number of these schools and approaches. It starts with an introduction to the conventional security (Realism and Liberalism) and explains why these approaches are found unsatisfactory by the academic community at the beginning of the 1990s. Then it explains various theoretical positions from constructivism to Feminism (gender security), Green Theory (environmental security) and Post-Colonialism (security from non-Western perspectives). Then it introduces contemporary concepts like ‘Securitisation’ which is developed by the Copenhagen School and discusses ‘security networks’ or ‘security apparatus’ investigated by the Paris or Sociological school. Another relevant contemporary approach is called ‘Human Security,’ and the course explains the development of this concept. In general, the course aims at giving an idea to the students of International Relations how Critical Security Studies has developed as a separate sub-field of International Relations, which was the biggest contribution of the Wales or Aberystwyth Schools. The course also discusses several contemporary issues to give a broader understanding to the students about the application of theories and approaches (such as poverty, migration, borders, cyberwar, new technologies and warfare, responsibility to protect, humanitarian intervention, war against terror, and other contemporary security issues).
To understand ‘security’ in International Relations (IR) as a complex concept with changing meanings and applications.
To discuss the consequences of different meanings for security critically.
To deconstruct the given notions and policies about security and ask questions like what is included, excluded, legitimized and justified in them.
To illuminate the main theoretical assumptions of the several approaches of security studies in IR by placing the main focus on the more contemporary and critical ones.
To explore the ways how contemporary or critical security studies challenge traditional security studies.
To discuss in what ways contemporary security approaches compare and contrast with each other.
To emphasize the empirical application and practical use of such approaches by discussing each approach with a relevant case study.
SSC2002 International Relations: Themes and Theories.
Columba Peoples and Nick Vaughan-Williams (last edition), Critical Security Studies: An Introduction, Routledge.
Selected articles, reports and other educational material.
Some parts of this course is about different forms of violence, atrocities, pain, and trauma. That is why the course content can be disturbing for some students.