How can the source be analyzed through the prism of critical approaches to security studies? What is the focal point and why? Is there anything missing from the text, and might your chosen critical perspective shed light on this? How does the text construct and represent ideas about security, threat, fear and danger?

Assignment Question

The assessment for this module is a 3000 word portfolio, to be submitted (as a single file) by January TP2. The portfolio consists of two tasks, each totalling 1500 words. The tasks are: 1. Scholarly article review (1500 words) 2. Analysis of a text or media representation of a security issue (1500 words) Further details for each task are to be found below.

Task 1: Scholarly Article Review (1500 words) In this task, you are asked to review one of the academic articles that are part of the module’s essentials readings. The text should be treated like an essay, with full referencing and a bibliography an absolute necessity. Further details on what is expected of a scholarly article review can be found below.

1. Choose one of the academic articles or book chapters from the following list: Security as Emancipation: Ken Booth “Security and emancipation.” Review of International studies 17.4 (1991): 313-326. Human Security: R. Christie, Critical voices and human security: to endure, to engage or to critique? Security Dialogue, 41.2 (2010) 169-190. Constructivism: Nina Tannenwald, The Nuclear Taboo (2007), Chapter 1 ‘Introduction’ (pages 1 to 28). Securitisation: Claire Wilkinson, ‘The Copenhagen School on Tour in Kyrgyzstan: Is Securitization Theory Useable Outside Europe?’, Security Dialogue, 38.1 (2007), pp. 5-25. Ecological Security: Maria Julia Trombetta, “Environmental security and climate change: analysing the discourse.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 21.4 (2008): 585-602. Feminist Security Studies: J. Ann Tickner, “Feminist responses to international security studies.” Peace Review 16.1 (2004): 43-48. Postcolonialism: Pnar Bilgin, “The ‘Western-centrism’ of security studies: ‘Blind spot’ or constitutive practice?.” Security Dialogue 41.6 (2010): 615-622. Race: Chengxin Pan, “Racialised politics of (in) security and the COVID-19 Westfailure.” Critical Studies on Security (2021): 1-6. Critical Terrorism Studies: Adrian Cherney, and Kristina Murphy. “What does it mean to be a moderate Muslim in the war on terror? Muslim interpretations and reactions.” Critical studies on terrorism 9.2 (2016): 159-181. You should NOT choose an article which corresponds to the perspective that you use in Task 2. For example, if you use security as emancipation as a perspective for Task 2, then you should not choose Ken Booth’s article.

2. Discuss and analyze the article. Your review of the article should include the following: Summary: Overview the main ideas and arguments presented in the article. Context: Situate the article within broader debates around security studies. Strengths: Identify aspects of the article that you agree with and explain why. Weaknesses: Identify any problems, gaps, contradictions or inconsistencies. To help you contextualize the article, as well as identify strengths and weaknesses, you should engage with the wider literature on the topic and make reference other to academic sources which are relevant to your chosen article. For example, if you choose Ken Booth’s article on ‘Security as Emancipation’, you could make use of scholarly literature that is critical of the concept of emancipation. A good place to start is the Further Reading list available for each topic.

Task 2: Analysis of a non-academic text or speech (1500 words) In this task, you are asked to analyse a non-academic source which reports on a security-related issue. You can use an official report, newspaper article, a speech, TV news segment, government webpage, podcast or any other medium. You will need to analyze this source by focusing on a theme/issue and using the theoretical discussions from this module to analyse the material.

1. Choose a theme or issue or topic from this list (this is a good way to start if you’re stuck as to how to choose a text) War/conflict Terrorism Humanitarian intervention Environmental security Any other security-related topic of your choice

2. Find a non-academic source which relates to your chosen topic. Here are some texts which were part of the weeks 2-11 learning activities. You are welcome to use one of these as your text to analyze in task 2, or you can find another text of your own choosing: Canada’s official foreign policy webpage.

  • Switzerland’s official foreign affairs department webpage.

UK Government, Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19) (2020).


3. Analyze your chosen source using ONE of the critical perspectives that we have explored over the course of this module (e.g. constructivism, post-colonialism, feminism, ecological security). To avoid duplication, this perspective should NOT be the same as the topic that you chose from Task 1. So for instance, if you analyzed Ken Booth’s article on emancipation for Task 1, you must not use the emancipation perspective for Task 2. Think about the following questions: How can the source be analyzed through the prism of critical approaches to security studies? What is the focal point and why? Is there anything missing from the text, and might your chosen critical perspective shed light on this? How does the text construct and represent ideas about security, threat, fear and danger? What kind of language is used? What is the dominant frame used by the report to represent this issue, and why? You don’t have to answer all of these questions word-for-word, but you should use these as a general guide. Again, in your discussions, you must draw on ONE of the theoretical perspectives we covered this semester. You must also use references, and cite your evidence, as well as provide a bibliography at the end. This will demonstrate engagement with literature and show supporting evidence for your arguments. look at the text analysis exmaple (portfolio part 2) which achieved a first class grade. Take note of how the authors break down the language of the text and how they apply critical theories.

Marking Criteria Marking Criteria Marking Rubrics: When marking your work, we look at the following categories: Focus: is your assignment focused on the key points you are making, or do you have lots and lots of different points throughout? Argument: is your overall argument clear, and are your key points developed, or does your paper jump from point to point without developing a central discussion? Engagement with literature: are you engaging with wider reading, and key literature? Example: if you are talking about securitization, don’t paraphrase the lecture slides, but refer to existing literature on securitization. Use of evidence and examples: are you making arguments supported by evidence (sources, citations, existing literature) or, do your arguments look speculative? Structure: does your paper follow a clear structure? Is there an OVERALL structure, and are all your paragraphs clearly structured as well? Or, does each paragraph jump from point to point? Do your paragraphs going up and transition from one to the other clearly? Style: are you using the correct citation format? Has your assignment been edited so that it is clear, or does it contain l its of long unclear sentences with generalised terminology? (‘Lots of people think…’) Marking Criteria This marking criteria is supplied by the School, and shows how each grade bracket breaks down into specific characteristics. Percentage marks on all assessed work are given using the following scales, work within the mark ranges below demonstrates the following characteristics: 80– 100% Unique or insightful work, which is either of publishable quality in a reputable journal or attains the professional standards expected for the discipline, or; work which displays a critical awareness of the principles and practices of the discipline. Thorough comprehension of the assessment’s requirements, fully realises learning outcomes for the assessment and develops them far beyond normal expectations. 70 – 79% Displays an individual perspective which is supported by reasoning or evidence. Insightful, logical and articulate, demonstrates a comprehensive coverage of subject matter, engagement with scholarship and research, very good analytical/creative ability. Surpasses the intended learning outcomes. 60 – 69% Sound and well thought out, organised, secure knowledge of subject, appropriate use of critical references, realises the intended learning outcomes broadly, well expressed, good analytical/creative skills. 50 – 59% Displays adequate use of critical method but may be poorly argued. Adequate or routine knowledge of subject. Evidence is referred to but there may be inconsistencies in the way it is used. Clear evidence that learning outcomes are being achieved. 40 – 49% Competent but largely descriptive in approach. Displays understanding of subject with some limitations e.g. an element may be missed. Evidence that learning outcomes are being achieved. 30 – 39% Evidence that some learning outcomes have been achieved or most learning outcomes achieved partially. Although work may include brief signs of comprehension, it contains basic misunderstandings or misinterpretations, demonstrates limited ability to meet the requirements of the assessment. 29% and below Brief, irrelevant, confused, incomplete. Does not come close to meeting the required learning outcomes.