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POL389 The Political Life of Security Methods

(POL389B - Spring)

Level: 6

Credits: 15 credits

Semester: 6

Contact: Dr Jef Huysmans

Overlap: None

Prerequisite: None

Description:
This module examines contemporary security practice through the methods they use. It introduces students to (a) the security life of methods -- how methods shape contemporary security situations -- and (b) the political controversies about their use -- the political life of methods. The module will cover a range of controversial methods, for example: the deployment of anthropological knowledge and methods in counter-insurgency, the role of algorithms in surveillance, the rise of big data in security governance, the use of visual methods in security practice and their political contestation, the rise of forensic methods in criminal investigations of war, and scenario planning and foresight in anticipating catastrophes. Students will be expected to gain an understanding of security methods and their limits, and evaluate their political and social effects.

Assessment: 1 x 2,000 word essay (40%) & 1 x 2 hour examination (60%)

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