Our understanding of what constitutes an issue of international security has changed fundamentally following the end of the Cold. While the world was previously concerned with mutual nuclear annihilation, other threats such as terrorism, piracy, immigration or small wars have become far more prominent. While the empirical focus has changed, so has the theoretical engagement with international security threats shifting from a positivist to a post-positivist understanding of international security in which such dangers are not so much down to material existence but are the result of a process of discursive construction. This critical turn in the analysis of security threats had led to a new sub-field in the discipline of International Relations often referred to as Critical Security Studies. The course will examine in detail such a critical turn and reflect on the merits and problems such a turn brings with it.
Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Alexander Spencer