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Unit information: The Politics of Insecurity in 2015/16

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Unit name The Politics of Insecurity
Unit code SPAIM0042
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Brad Evans
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

We live in an age of multiple insecurities brought about by human actions and behaviours. Whether it is the threat of another devastating terrorist attack, a natural disaster or unexpected catastrophe, anxieties and fears define the global political age. More than encouraging liberal governments and security agencies to think about forms of endangerment beyond the Nation State, so we have also began to accept how our living systems are insecure and vulnerable by design. This has been in part an inevitable outcome of living in complex and globally interconnected systems that have fundamentally challenged modernist understandings of security, peace, threat and political community.

This course provides a critical evaluation of the politics of insecurity, as it may be understood through both a planetary and human-centric frame. Charting in particular the changing global security landscape, as new emerging problems demand new radically interconnected frameworks for assessing the links between regimes of power and vulnerabilities in the contemporary period, students will be encouraged to rethink the meaning of insecurity, violence and global citizenship in the 21st Century. In doing so, students will gain a more critical understanding on the ways in which perceptions of endangerment are integral to the formation of contemporary regimes of power, along with the possibilities for reimagining politics and transforming ethical relations amongst the world of peoples.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the unit, students will: 1) Understand the contested nature of global insecurities in an age of complexity 2) Problematize the politics of insecurity in respect to perceptions of endangerment and regimes of power beyond the State 3) Critically question modernist assumptions about security, peace, enmity and political community 4) Demonstrate the ability to rethink the meaning of insecurity, violence and global citizenship

Teaching Information

10 x 2 hour seminar

Assessment Information

4000 word assessed essay (100% summative assessment) (outcomes learning 1, 2, 3 and 4).

Reading and References

The recommended core reading for this unit is: Brad Evans & Julian Reid, Resilient Life: The Art of Living Dangerously (Cambridge, Polity Press: 2014)

Other useful textbooks which might be considered as supplementary book purchases are: Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Fear (Cambridge, Polity Press: 2006) Mark Duffield, Development, Security & Unending War: Governing the World of Peoples (Cambridge, Polity Press: 2007) Brad Evans, Liberal Terror (Cambridge, Polity Press: 2013)