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PPR.324: The Politics of Global Danger

Tutor: Mark Lacy
Term: Michaelmas

Course Description

What makes the world dangerous? Is global politics the extension of war by other means? Do security policies inscribe peace with the logic of war? How has the RMA, and the digital and molecular revolutions changed the ways in which we think about security and war? In what ways have these revolutions made the world more rather than less dangerous? What happens to security and war when these take the life of the human species rather than sovereign territoriality as their referent object? How and why does securing life pose a wholly different security problem from that of securing states? Why does securing life appear to increase rather than decrease global danger?

In the process of exploring these and related questions this course will introduce students to the ways in which biopolitical dismodules of security and war differ from geostrategic dismodules of security and war. The world is said to be dangerous in many changing and conflicting ways. Dismodules of security and war teach us what to fear and prioritise danger differently. They challenge how we think. Part One introduces students to ways of thinking about the problematisation of security and war, including new approaches to understanding power. Part Two applies these new perspectives to interrogate changes in the practices of security and war; especially those introduced by the informationalisation of weapons and the weaponisation of information.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key positions in critical security studies
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts employed in the debate
  • To be able analyse and review the arguments of key thinkers in both verbal and written assessment
  • Articulate their own position in relation to the thinkers and debates examined in the course


40% coursework and 60% exam.
Coursework: 1 essay of 3000 words. Exam: 2 hours.

Teaching Method

Lecture (1.5 hours) and seminar (1 hour) weekly.

Introductory Reading

Arquilla J & Ronfeldt D In Athena's Camp: Information Warfare

Castells M The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture

DeLanda M War in the Age of Intelligent Machines

Duffield , Post-modern War

Edkins J & Zehfuss M Global Politics

Foucault M Society Must Be Defended

Foucault M Security, Territory, Population

Mazarr M The Revolution in Military Affairs

Molander R C et al Strategic Information Warfare

Poster M The Second Media Age

Virilio P Pure War

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