Security Studies - 1st semester


1. Acquire a profound knowledge about the main schools of thought that have attempted to formulate a general theory of International Security: Liberalism, Realism, Critical Theories and other European Schools, Chinese, etc as well as of its key thinkers.
2. Encourage the ability for critical engagement with the main scholarly problems and debates in international security: Anarchy and International Order; Causes of Conflicts and Cooperation and search for Security; Democratic and Hegemonic Peace; Balance of Power and Collective Security; Deterrence and Coercion; Novelty and specific of not of certain types of conflicts and its resolution (Nuclear, Civil Wars, Insurgencies and Terrorism).
3. Encourage the ability for critical engagement with the main dynamics that led to creation and development of the main institutions of international security and cooperation: Collective Security and UN; Alliances, Cooperative Security, Regional Security Communities and NATO; Concert of Great Powers, Summits and Security Council of the UN.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Alexandra Magnólia Dias


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Collins, Allan (ed.), Contemporary Security Studies. (Oxford UP) última ed. (latest edition);
Hughes, Chris (ed.), Security Studies : a Reader. (Routledge), última ed. (latest edition);
Mahnken, Thomas and Maiolo, Joseph A. (eds.), Strategic Studies: A Reader (Routledge, 2008);
Nye, Joseph, Compreender os Conflitos Internacionais: Uma Introdução à Teoria e à
História. (Gradiva, 2002);
Williams, Paul D. (ed), Security Studies: An Introduction (Routledge) última ed., (latest edition);

Teaching method

The course is taught via seminars by the professor responsible for the course; followed by short guided discussions.

Evaluation method

Active engagement with debates during classes showing good reasoning and ability to debate a point pertinently will count for 25% of the final course mark. The final written exam will be the decisive evaluation of the ability to pertinently apply the knowledge of relevant authors and concepts, of research and critical analysis, in a coherent well-argued and clear text, and will therefore count for 75% of the final course mark.

Subject matter

Part 1: Main Schools of Theoretical Thought

1. Introduction to Course and the Discipline

2. What is Security (Normative or Pragmatic)? New approaches (Human Security, Environmental, Economic and Energy Security, etc.)
3. Realism and its Different Schools (Classical and Neo-Classical; Neo-Realism; Offensive and Defensive)
4. Liberalism and Peace Studies
5. Constructivism and Critical Theories
6. and other European Schools: thinkers and key concepts

Part 2: Module: Causes of Conflicts

7. Causes of conventional Conflicts (WWI and WWII): Man, State or System
8. Causes of Non-Conventional Conflicts (former-Yugoslavia and Iraq I & II): Greed, Grievance or Identity

Part 3: The Search for Security
9. Empire, Hegemony - Hegemonic Peace and Wars of Hegemonic Transition (Pax Britannica, Pax Americana):
10. Alliances and Security Communities (origins and dynamics): Balance v. Band-wagon and Off-Shore Balancer and the case of NATO
11. Deterrence and surviving nuclear weapons during the Cold War
12. Collective Security (League of Nations v. UN)
13. Crises (mis)Management and Conflict Resolution (Kosovo and Libya)

Part 4: New Threats for New Theories?
14. New Wars or Old Asymmetric Approaches? (Failed States, Proliferation and case of Iran)
15. Revising Theories or Revisionist States? (From Clash of Civilization to the Rise of China)