Human and Critical Security Studies


This module examines the meanings, mechanisms and agents of security, acknowledging shifts from the traditional notion of national security to forms of Human Security and critiques of the state.

Topics covered

The module investigates processes and phenomena that pose direct threats to groups of people and, in doing so, potentially destabilise or aggravate situations. Famine, the oil trade and AIDS undermine people physically, politically and psychologically, and on occasions result in further forms of insecurity as people resist, retaliate or take advantage of volatile situations.

The module will examine social factors such as age, gender, class and identity and the way that these shape and are shaped by experiences of security and look at the rapidly expanding academic literature linking specific threats to processes of vulnerability, insecurity, terror and globalisation. The UN, itself heavily involved in forging the meanings of security, has produced documents relating to health, climate change and other elements covered in the course.


  • Four written online activities (30% of the module mark)
  • 5,000 word essay (70%).