SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Security (BA)

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/2023
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 3
Taught in:
Term 1

Security (BA) aims to examine the meanings and agents of security. Security is conceptualised as a pattern of relations designed to manage risk through collaboration, competition and compromise; its opposites are vulnerability, insecurity and terror. The module investigates processes and phenomena that pose direct threats to groups of people and, in doing so, potentially destabilise or aggravate situations. Famine, financial volatility 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 the situation. The module 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.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, a student should be able to:

  • Elaborate on and critique meanings of the term ‘security’, how these are constructed, interpreted and manipulated;
  • Identify and examine non-military processes and phenomena affecting security;
  • Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of how various forms of security interact;
  • Explain the roles of a diverse set of actors operating in the field of security;
  • Analyse ways in which security is differently experienced between and within groups;
  • Assess risks and vulnerabilities within Global Security;
  • Deploy academic, UN and pressure group literature on security in constructing arguments.


Teaching takes place through a weekly 1 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial.

Method of assessment

100% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit one essay of worth 85% of the final grade and sit an in-class test worth 15% of the final grade. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.

Suggested reading

Introductory reading:

  • B. Buzan, [1983] 1991, People, States and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era, Harvester Wheatsheaf.
  • R. Dannreuther, 2007, International Security. The Contemporary Agenda. Polity.
  • M. Duffield, 2007, Development, Security and Unending War, Polity.
  • K. M. Fierke, 2007, Critical Approaches to International Security. Polity.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules