Skip to main content

Unit information: Security Governance in 2020/21

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)
Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
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

This unit assesses the nature of contemporary security governance and considers the extent to which it constitutes a shift away from or challenges the ideal of the nation-state as security provider. To do so the unit commences by asking what constitutes security governance, and how we can critically study the subject. It then turns to an analysis of a range of different actors that now claim a security role within global governance. We will discuss how different types of actors conceive of and practice contemporary security governance, and critically assess their status as security providers. Specifically, we will examine the roles, capabilities and strategies of: global organizations (the United Nations) and regimes (the nuclear non-proliferation regime); regional alliances and actors (NATO, the European Union, and the African Union); states as potential providers of global security governance (with a specific focus on the United States); and non-state actors (Non-Governmental Organizations and Private Military Companies) as ‘private’ providers of security.


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 unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: an oral presentation supported by a handout Summative assessment: a 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

  • Anthony Burke and Rita Parker (eds.) (2017) Global Insecurity: Futures of Global Chaos and Governance (London: Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Christopher Daase and Friesendorf, Cornelius (eds.) (2010) Rethinking Security Governance: The Problem of Unintended Consequences (London: Routledge)
  • Thomas Hale, David Held and Kevin Young (2013) Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation Is Failing When we Need it Most (Cambridge: Polity Press)
  • Shahar Hameiri and Lee Jones (2015) Governing Borderless Threats: Non-Traditional Security and the Politics of State Transformation (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press)
  • Elke Krahmann (2010) States, Citizens and the Privatization of Security (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)