University Course Planner The University of Adelaide Australia

POLIS 3002 - International Security

Career: Undergraduate
Units: 3
Term: Semester 2
Campus: North Terrace
Contact: Up to 3 hours
Available for Study Abroad and Exchange: Yes
Available for Non-Award Study: Yes
Pre-Requisite: At least 6 units of Level II undergraduate study
Incompatible: POLIS 3101
Assessment: Research essay 40%, Mid-term online test 10%, Critical review 20%, Group project 20%, Participation 10%

This course explores how the paradigm of security is undergoing rapid and radical transformation. Informed by the prevailing debates, theories and essential concepts in the field of security studies, the course assesses some of the central axioms of international and national security in the context of an emergent class of transnational security dilemmas. The course begins by exploring the paradigm of 'security' as it relates to sovereignty, the state (where one exists) and the safety of a people. The evolution of this concept is traced historically variously through wars, conflicts, emancipatory struggles, colonialism, the Cold War and the establishment of international system. Discussion of these issues is framed by prevailing debates - of (neo)realism, liberalism and constructivism - over the status (and value) of international institutions and norms, particularly those relating to conflict resolution, humanitarian intervention, human rights and displaced peoples. We then consider how the concepts of 'national' or 'international' security are fundamentally transformed by (i) transnational dilemmas that undermine long-standing principles of sovereignty, independence and border integrity, and (ii) states’ weakening capacity to deliver security outcomes. Thus we consider how traditional state-based threats interact with the incipient rise of non-traditional security challenges, from the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and fragile/fragmenting states, to new technologies of violence, maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, and proliferating cyber assaults on infrastructure and democratic processes. Theoretically and conceptually, throughout the course we reflect critically on the mobilisation of new security policies and transnational security initiatives to ask how the ‘referents’ of security are being changed, by whom and to what end. This element of the course reflects on the debates between mainstream and critical security perspectives on the state: querying how security is constituted; why and how policy issues come to be framed as security issues; and the ethical repercussions and ramifications for democracy.

Course Fees

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Student Status


What type of place are you studying in

Commonwealth supported
Full fee paying

Study Level

Postgraduate Coursework
Non Award

Program of Study

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Course Outline

A Course Outline which includes Learning Outcomes, Learning Resources, Learning & Teaching for this course may be accessed here

Critical Dates

Term Last Day to Add Online Census Date Last Day to WNF Last Day to WF
Semester 2 Mon 10/08/2020 Wed 19/08/2020 Fri 18/09/2020 Fri 30/10/2020

Class Details

Enrolment Class: Lecture
Class Nbr Section Size Available Dates Days Time Location
20232 LE01 120 49 28 Jul - 15 Sep Tuesday 12pm - 2pm Napier, G04, Lecture Theatre
6 Oct - 27 Oct Tuesday 12pm - 2pm Napier, G04, Lecture Theatre
Related Class: Small Group Discovery
Class Nbr Section Size Available Dates Days Time Location
20233 SG04 30 1 29 Jul - 16 Sep Wednesday 1pm - 2pm Napier, 108, Teaching Room
7 Oct - 28 Oct Wednesday 1pm - 2pm Napier, 108, Teaching Room
20234 SG03 28 16 27 Jul - 14 Sep Monday 1pm - 2pm Ligertwood, 111, Teaching Room
5 Oct - 26 Oct Monday 1pm - 2pm Ligertwood, 111, Teaching Room
20236 SG01 30 FULL 30 Jul - 17 Sep Thursday 4pm - 5pm Ligertwood, 111, Teaching Room
8 Oct - 29 Oct Thursday 4pm - 5pm Ligertwood, 111, Teaching Room