Critical Approaches to Security

School: School of Government and Society
Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies

Final year module

Lecturers: Dr Cerwyn Moore / Dr Lorenzo Cladi

This module investigates different critical approaches to analysing security dynamics and issues in International Relations. It seeks to encourage students to reflect on the analytical and ethical assumptions that shape the ways in which security is thought about and practiced in contemporary global politics. Furthermore, the module encourages students to think critically about how security functions in global politics. It explores the key concepts of critical security studies (security, community, emancipation and representation), and looks at a variety of critical perspectives on security (including the ‘Welsh School’, poststructuralist and feminist approaches). These insights are then examined in light of contemporary security issues (including war, intervention, WMD, environmental change, human rights, poverty and religion).

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to: 

  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of key theoretical and conceptual debates about security, particularly from critical perspectives. 
  • Critically evaluate literature addressing the question of security in International Relations. 
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the ways in which critical theoretical insights might be applied to particular issues and regions. 
  • Use critical insights and approaches to analyse specific empirical issues or case studies.


  • Term One/Two: 3,000 word assessed work (50%)
  • Term Three: 3 hour examination (50%)

Note: If you wish to take POLS 330 Critical Approaches to Security there is a pre-requisite of either POLS 218 International Security or POLS 214 International Relations Theory.

Related courses:


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