Securitisation and the New Security Agenda POLITIC4153

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This module will critically explore the process through which issues are socially constructed as threats and the political implications of placing them in the security agenda. Following a theoretical assessment of securitisation theory and competing approaches, the focus will turn on contemporary challenges in various sectors, including migration, terrorism, military intervention, environmental security and the current economic crisis.


This course may not be running this year. For further information please check the Politics Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Politics requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Politics 2A and Politics 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses






One essay/research note of between 2,000 and 2,500 words (40%)

One two hour examination in which students attempt to answer two questions out of six (50%)

'Class Participation - 10%, based on attendance, contribution to the class discussions, exercises (e.g. quiz, reading summaries, tasks) and/or presentations. Students will submit written copies of the exercises and/or the presentation. Adjustments and/or alternative modes of assessment will be available for students with disabilities which hinder attendance or prevent public speaking.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No


Course Aims

This module aims to critically explore the process through which issues are socially constructed as threats and the political implications of placing them in the security agenda. The first part of the class will review conceptual and theoretical debates about international security, with a particular focus on securitisation theory. The second part will explore a range of contemporary challenges in the military, societal, environmental and economic sectors. The securitisation of 'new threats' such as migration, the environment and international terrorism will be assessed. The Eurozone economic crisis will also be discussed, as well as military challenges, with case-studies on the 2003 Iraq War, the Rwandan genocide and Al Qaeda. Key questions to explore include how these issues are framed, by whom, for what reasons and with what consequences for politics and policies. The class concludes with a philosophical debate about the trade-offs between security and freedom that will allow students to critically reflect on what they have learned throughout the semester.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this class, students should be able to:

■ Map and evaluate on-going debates about the concept and focus of security and assess the challenges posed by recent empirical and theoretical developments;

■ Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of securitisation theory;

■ Appreciate the reasons and the processes through which issues are prioritised in the security agenda and its implications;

■ Assess the range, nature, extent and causes of contemporary security challenges;

■ Construct their own understanding of the most appropriate national and international policy responses to dealing with them and explore associated trade-offs.


In addition, through seminar presentations and discussions and through essay/exam writing, students should also acquire the following transferable skills:


■ The ability to access and make effective use of bibliographical and electronic sources of knowledge and information;

■ The ability to analyse written texts and prepare, articulate and defend reasoned answers to set questions;

■ Written communication skills, conveying information and ideas fluently to form sustained arguments;

■ Presentation skills, conveying information and ideas succinctly and effectively by using PowerPoint and handouts and by keeping within prescribed time-limits;

■ Working collaboratively with others in order to reach and sustain convincing lines of argument;

■ Self-motivation and time-management in order to meet specified deadlines;

■ Experience of how to use empirical data to evaluate theoretical claims.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.