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Global security is most often perceived in terms of `threats` to states and societies and the ways in which these can be minimised or responded to, often via the use of force. This course aims to provide students with the opportunity to examine global security from a critical perspective, reflecting on the ways in which both security and vulnerability are co-constructed and contextualised through interlocking social, cultural, spatial, economic and political domains. In doing so the course will interrogate the interdependency of security and vulnerability. This will involve exploring and critiquing the ways in which `threats` and `security needs` are constructed such that existing economic, social, cultural and spatial hierarchies are maintained and the insecurity of some of the most vulnerable groups justified or ignored. In contrast the course proposes an ethics of care, mutuality and respect as crucial pre-requisites for more equitable and lasting securities.
The course will use case studies and opportunities to meet with and learn from a wide range of people engaging with issues of security and vulnerability in a variety of contexts both as academics and as activists, for example in relation to migration and asylum; sexuality; militarism. In this way the course aims to introduce students to broader conceptual frameworks for understanding interactions between security and vulnerability and to a familiarity with the wide range of state and non-state institutions, organisations and movements actively engaging with security issues.