nl en

Security Challenges in a Globalizing World


Admission requirements

  • Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.


A general feeling of insecurity and anxiety has settled in parts of society and ‘security’ has become a catch word that defines a range of situations and developments that society considers problematic or threatening – and by that, security has been broadened and deepened, encompassing a diverse range of (perceived) crises and security threats, to include for instance radicalisation, transnational terrorism, climate change, pandemics, natural disasters, violent crime, industrial accidents, cyber security risks and unregulated international migration.

Ontological Security refers to the need of a sense of order and continuity in life, facilitating positive self-identification and a sense of belonging. Started as a concept applied in psychology at the individual level, by now the concept of ontological security is being used as a theoretical and analytical lens to study (in)security at the local, national and global level and explain changes in the way societies define, experience and counter (in)security.

In this course, students will get acquainted with the underlying social, economic, political and cultural changes of late-modernity that influence perceptions of (in)security and critically discuss the concept of ontological security. As fluidity and uncertainty are central notions of ontological security, this course will address transformations in society that produce ontological insecurity, like globalisation, deterritorialisation, transboundary networks of information and power, hybrid threats and weaponisation of information. Further, the course will look into the renewed search for ontological security, as manifested in populism, identity politics, re-territorialisation, nationalism and nostalgia.

Course Objectives

After finalising this course, students are able to:
1. Identify and discuss, based on advanced knowledge, key theoretical and conceptual frameworks related to ontological security and apply it to real-life cases and phenomena in a conceptually and methodological rigorous manner.
2. Reflect on the concepts of crisis and security as a political, social and mental construction and critically evaluate the effect of the social, political and cultural context and complexity on the perception of crisis and security issues.
3. ‘Read’ society and identify and analyse in a timely manner new developments and phenomena related to ontological security.
4. Seek evidence and draw from empirical or theoretical materials for an informed (and, when applicable, critical) judgement.
5. Engage in public debates about the issues related to (the study of) crises and security issues.
6. Self-evaluate and reflect after interactive in-class work and individual assignments.


On the right side of programme front page of the studyguide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction

Attendance is mandatory. Students are only allowed to miss more than one session if there are special, demonstrable personal circumstances. The Board of Examiners, in consultation with the study advisors, will decide on such an exceptional exemption of mandatory attendance.

Total study load: 112 hours

  • Lectures: 21 hours

  • Self-study: 91 hours

In this 4 ects course, 1 ects is specifically reserved for the assignment that is going to be part of the portfolio of students, including working on their interim reflection paper as preparation for the final reflection paper. Specific information on the portfolio assignment and the intended learning outcomes that are being acquired will be published in the syllabus of this course.

Assessment method

Assessment for this course is based on two assignments:

Group assignment

  • 30% of final grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade must be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50)

Individual paper assignment

  • 70% of final grade

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit possible

  • Resit will take the same form

The calculated overall course grade must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course. If the calculated overall course grade is lower than 5.50, students are also permitted to resit the 70% individual paper.

In the case of written assessment methods, the examiner can always initiate a follow-up conversation with the student to establish whether the learning objectives have been met.

Transitional arrangement
Passed partial grades obtained in year 2022-2023 remain valid during year 2023-2024.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles, to be announced on Brightspace.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams).
Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.
Registration for this course is possible from Wednesday 12 July 13.00h

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.


dr. Jelle van Buuren