POL2078 : Critical International Politics

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Amanda Chisholm
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to critically explore the interplay between theory and practice in contemporary global politics with particular focus on the concept of security. It will analyse the social, political, economic and discursive contexts that give rise to and shape dominant understandings of key global security issues. It will then relate these contexts back to the problem-solving and critical theoretical traditions of the discipline of international relations.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered may include the following:
The “Myths” of Security
Theory and Practice in International Security
Discourses and Practices of Security
Foreign Policy and Security
The International Political Economy of Security
Migration and Security
Security and Technology

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery14:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to the key social, political, economic, and ideational contexts of international politics. In addition they serve to outline and illustrate the principle concepts and theories available to understanding these contexts.
The seminars will provide an environment in which these empirical, conceptual, and theoretical issues can be further explored and critically evaluated by students.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research proposal2M20800 word research proposal
Research paper1M803000 word research essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The research proposal and research essay will provide a scaffolding learning practice. Through the two assessments students will engage in a variety of theoretical perspectives of international relations and demonstrate the relationship between theory and practice.

Components of the proposal include a rationale for the security issue chosen, a description of which two theoretical perspectives they want to explore and why and a small working bibliography. in the research essay students will build upon their proposals by evaluating how the political issue is understood differently depending upon which perspectives they draw upon. They will be asked to evaluate each theoretical perspective, how they compare and what are the strengths and limitations.

The assessments will assess the student’s ability to place and synthesize the material gained from lectures and seminars in appropriate contexts and their ability to critically and succinctly evaluate the ideas, concepts and theories introduced in lectures and explored in seminars. In addition the essay will also assess the capacity and initiative of students to undertake independent study of published and electronic materials.

RESIT INFO: 100% unseen written examination

Exchange Students:

An alternative form of assessment will be set for exchange students from non-English speaking home institutions replacing the examination. The alternative form of assessment is set in accordance with the University Assessment tariff.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.