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Unit information: Security Governance in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Security Governance
Unit code POLIM1006
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Peoples
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Global security has changed fundamentally over the past two decades. Not only are we facing new threats such as the ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia, the genocides in Rwanda and Sudan and the terrorist attacks of 11 September, we are also witnessing the increasing fragmentation of security policy making among state and non-state actors. This unit will involve discussions concerning how different types of actors can contribute to contemporary security governance. Specifically, the unit will examine the capabilities and strategies of non-governmental organizations, private military companies, states, regional alliances, including NATO, the European Union and ECOWAS, and global organizations, such as the United Nations. In addition, the unit will debate the problems that arise from the growing fragmentation of security policy making among multiple actors, such as loss of public accountability and lack of coordination. This unit is only available to students registered for MSc/Diploma degrees in the Department of Politics. Please note that the Department does not permit the auditing of any of its units.


The aim of this course unit is to help students as citizens and future decision-makers broaden their understanding of the variety of state and non-state actors and institutions available for improving global security, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private military companies, states, international regimes, regional alliances such as NATO and the EU, and international organizations such as the United Nations.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • Assess the fragmentation of security policy making among multiple actors
  • Evaluate the contributions of different actors to global security
  • Analyse the capabilities and strategies of different security actors
  • Apply new theoretical concepts to contemporary security policy making
  • Define the theoretical concepts of ‘security’ and ‘security governance’
  • Describe the decision-making structures of different security actors

Teaching Information

The following methods will be used:

  • Critical evaluation of relevant literature
  • Discussion and group work
  • Listening and speaking in discussion
  • Literature searches and primary source work, including internet
  • Seminar presentations (individual or collaborative)
  • Essay writing

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: an oral presentation supported by a handout Summative assessment: a 3,500 to 4,000 word essay

A full statement of the relationship between the programme outcomes and types/methods of assessment is contained in accompanying Programme Specifications and section B7 of the Major Change to Current Programme forms for the programmes of which this unit is a part. The assessment for each unit is designed to fit within and contribute to that approach in terms of intellectual development across each of the two teaching blocks, and in relation to knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills and attributes, and transferable skills.

Reading and References

  • Adebajo, A and Sriram, C. Managing Armed Conflicts in the 21st Century, Frank Cass, 2001
  • Bunker, R. Non-state Threats and Future Wars, Frank Cass, 2003
  • Held, D and McGrew, A. (eds.), Governing Globalization. Power, Authority and Global Governance, Polity Press, 2003
  • Jordan, Amos A., Taylor, W., and Korb, L (eds.), American National Security: Policy and Process, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993
  • Hagman, H-C. European Crisis Management and Defence: The Search for Capabilities, Oxford University Press, 2002
  • Cortright, D. and Lopez, G. The Sanctions Decade: Assessing UN Strategies in the 1990s, Lynne Rienner, 2002