Security Studies


Course Objective

• To enhance students’ critical understanding of the potential and
limits of competing theoretical approaches to international security;
• To familiarize students with specific problems in/of international
security, including (counter)terrorism, new forms of warfare, new
technologies of war, surveillance, migration, and private security.
• To have students apply the ideas and concepts covered in the course in
order to develop a critical analysis of security problems and the way in
which they are governed.
• To increase students’ understanding of the key political, social, and
legal implications of contemporary security governance.
• To stimulate active class discussion.
• To present findings persuasively in both oral and written presentation

Course Content

International Security Studies is an evolving sub-field of International
Relations. While traditionally focused on the security of states and on
a concern with national security as a source of international conflict,
recently, the study of International Security has moved beyond this
state-centric focus. Debates in this field have revolved around two
cleavages. The first cleavage relates to the question of what could and
should be studied under the heading of ‘security’. This has divided
those scholars who have maintained a focus on state security and those
that have wanted to broaden threat definitions to include, for example,
human, social, environmental and energy security. A second, but parallel
discussion, relates to the struggle over how to study security. This
debate splits those who argue that security threats can be measured
objectively from those who consider threat and danger to be the outcome
of a highly political and social process.

Following the development of the discipline of security studies and
paying specific attention to the post-9/11 context, in this course we
will critically engage with (the construction of) contemporary security
problems such as (counter)terrorism, new forms of warfare, new
technologies of war, surveillance, migration, and private security.
Through discussion and analysis of these (and other) problems of
security, we will learn how (in)security is understood and acted upon,
and how and why certain security strategies and solutions are proposed.
Through our discussion of particular case studies or policy developments
(e.g. the normalization of drone warfare, the Snowden revelations, the
recent EU-Turkey deal on migration, radicalization policy) we will also
focus on the key political, social, and legal implications of
contemporary security governance.

Teaching Methods

Seminar meetings take place twice a week. The first weekly meeting takes
the form of an in-depth class discussion based on a number of core
academic readings. The aim of these discussions is to gain understanding
of key conceptual readings on a variety of international security issues
or problems. The second weekly meetings take the form of workshops and
are based on student presentations. Students discuss a particular case
or policy development related to the literature discussed earlier that

Method of Assessment

Assessment for this course will be based on the following elements:
class participation and two small writing assignments; group
presentations; an individual research paper.


A selection of articles, case materials and policy reports. To be
announced on Canvas.

Target Audience

This course is only open to students of the programme Law and Politics
of International Security.

General Information

Course Code R_SecStud
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator dr. M. Hoijtink
Examiner dr. M. Hoijtink
Teaching Staff dr. M. Hoijtink

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture