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Security Governance


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations.


In the post-Cold War era, the absence of a defining great power rivalry, globalization, the rise of non-state actors and technological changes, among other factors, are said to have transformed not only our conceptualization of security but have also given rise to new regimes of security. ‘Security governance’ points to such increasingly fragmented and complex regimes of security in world politics, which, contemporary IR scholarship argues, have dislocated the state as the primary referent and provider of security. Consequently, in contemporary IR, security governance has fast become one of the new conceptual buzzwords.
This course will examine some of the key dimensions of security governance in the contemporary world. Some basic questions such as, “Who are the ‘new’ providers of security?”, “Who are they securing?” and “How ‘new’ and ‘effective’ are these regimes?” will first need critical scrutiny. We will thus analyse the concepts and institutions that shape contemporary global security discourse. This will be followed by looking at both traditional as well as non- traditional actors and issues of security provision. In additional to dealing with states and collective security organs, such as the UN, we will survey some of the key debates around the securitization of new issues, such as migration, health and climate change. We will also look at how digitization, big data and technology, including social media, have fostered new modes of surveillance where the primary referent of disciplinary security practice has shifted from borders to bodies.
Our work in the course will involve reflecting on the conceptual manifestations of security governance, mapping practices that enable the securitization of issues, and developing a critical understanding of the emerging regimes of security.

Course objectives

The course aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the issues around security governance, and help them to think of new ways in which the concepts of security and governance are being redefined in the 21st century. The scholarly literature scanned during the course of 12 lectures should also suitably equip you to critical analyse empirical case studies on security governance. Through course assessments, students will develop skills in independent research, writing and presentation.


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Mode of instruction

This course follows a seminar format, which means that the instructor will briefly initiate the weekly theme, followed by student presentations and debate. Student presentations will start from Week 3.
For every seminar, all students are required to prepare a written short summary statement for each of the mandatory readings for the week. The summary statement should contain the following: 1) key words and terms; 2) a statement of the author’s main argument (three-four lines); 3) one or two questions that the reading raises for you. The summary must be submitted electronically the midnight before the class. These summaries are included in the credits for class participation.
Attendance is mandatory. Missing more than one session will invite penalties, unless the student has genuine extenuating circumstances which will need to be supported with documentation.

Course Load

Specification of the Course Load:

  • 24 Hours of classes

  • 144 Hours of reading and class preparation (12 hours per week over 12 weeks)

  • 24 Hours to prepare for the presentation

  • 100 Hours to complete the research essay

Assessment method


The grading for this course will be based on:

  • Presentation 20%

  • Class Participation 10%

  • Weekly Summarie 20%

  • Research Essay (500 words) 50%


The final mark for the course is established by determing the weignted average. However, students are required to pass every assessment to be able to receive a final passing grade.


Re-sits are offered only on the research essay, if it is found to be insufficient. The resubmission should be made within two weeks of being advised on the insuffience of the original.

inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Mandatory readings for the course can be accessed online via Leiden library.

There are no required textbooks, however the following books are a good place to start:

  • Agamben, G. (1996) Homo Sacer. Stanford University Press: Stanford.

  • Buzan, B., Wæver, O., & Wilde, J. de. (1998). Security: A New Framework for Analysis. Lynne Rienner Publishers.

  • Duffield, M. (2007). Development, Security and Unending War. Polity.

  • Kirchner, E. a& Sperling, J. (eds). (2007). Global Security Governance. Routledge.

  • Myriam Dunn Cavelty and Thierry Balzacq (eds.) Routledge Companion to Security. Routledge.

  • Salter, M. (eds.) (2015 and 2016), Making Things International, Volumes I&II, University of Minnesota Press.


Via, uSis

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.


Vineet Thakur.