SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Human and Critical Security Studies (Online Module)

The Human and Critical Security Studies module examines the meanings, mechanisms and agents of security, acknowledging shifts from the traditional notion of national security to forms of Human Security and critiques of the state. The module investigates processes and phenomena that pose direct threats to groups of people and, in doing so, potentially destabilise or aggravate situations. Famine, the oil trade and AIDS undermine people physically, politically and psychologically, and on occasions result in further forms of insecurity as people resist, retaliate or take advantage of volatile situations. The course also incorporates analysis of contingent – and differentiating – social factors such as age, gender, class and identity and the way that these shape and are shaped by experiences of security. The course draws on literature from a range of sources. The academic literature derives predominantly from Development Studies, Political Science and International Relations. This provides varied analysis of the nature and function security policy, including policies relating to human security. In addition to this, there is a rapidly expanding academic literature linking specific threats to processes of vulnerability, insecurity, terror and globalisation. This is accompanied by literature by pressure groups working on the issues concerned: on AIDS, famine, corporate responsibility, the environment and human rights. The UN, itself heavily involved in forging the meanings of security, has produced documents relating to health, climate change and other elements covered in the course.

All modules are subject to availability and are subject to change from session to session.

Suggested reading

Beall, J., T. Goodfellow and J. Putzel (2006). “Introductory article: on the discourse of terrorism, security and development.” Journal of International Development 18: 51-67.
Bond, J. (2014). “Conflict, Development and Security at the Agro-Pastoral-Wildlife Nexus: A Case of Laikipia County, Kenya” Journal Of Development Studies, 50(7): 991-1008.

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