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Security Governance in the Liberal Order


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations.


What does it take to make a liberal order secure? As wars – covert and overt – proliferate, how do we understand the immense violence inflicted, ironically, by a liberal order? Who is the primary subject of security in a liberal order – the state, the society or the individual? How have the institutions dealing with the governance of security changed over time? What are the threats that these institutions attempt to provide security against? ‘Security governance’ points to the increasingly fragmented and complex regimes of security in contemporary world politics.

This course will examine salient dimensions of security governance in the contemporary world. We will analyse the key debates about liberal world order and discuss concepts and institutions that shape contemporary global security discourse.

Furthermore, 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. On the whole, we will investigate the common threads that permeate the practices of security from individual bodies to urban planning to corporate management to global security architecture.

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 analyse empirical case studies on security governance.Furthermore, through a strong emphasis on both history and theory, the course enables students to develop critical thinking skills in researching contemporary issues. Through course assessments, students will develop skills in independent as well as group research, writing and presentation.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

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 thematic discussions.

Assessment method


  • Presentation: 25%

  • Class participation: 10%

  • Weekly Summaries: 25%

  • Research Essay (4000 words): 40%


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


Resits are offered only on the written assignments, if they are found to be insufficient. The resubmission should be made within two weeks of being advised on the insufficiency 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

While there are no prescribed textbooks for this course, the following books is a tentative list of books that the discussions in this course will draw from:

Gilman, Nils (2007) Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America, The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Puar,Jasbir (2007)Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, Durham; Duke University Press.

Scott, James (2017) Against the Grain: A Deep History of Earliest States, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Agamben, G. (1998) Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen, Stanford: Satanford University Press.

Patel, Ian Sanjay (2021) We’re Here Because You Were There: Immigration and the End of Empire, Verso.

Latour, Bruno (2018) Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climate Change Regime. Polity

Nordstrom, Carolyn (2004)* Shadows of War: Violence, Power and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century*, University of California Press.

Lepore, Jill (2020) If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future: How Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future, New York: Liveright.

Satia, Priya (2008) Spies in Arabia:The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain's Covert Empire in the Middle East, New York: Oxford University Press.

Chamayou, Gregoire (2020), Ungovernable Society: A Geneology of Authoritative Liberalism, translated by Andrew Brown), Polity.

Sabaratnam, M. (2017). Decolonizing Intervention: International Statebuilding in Mozambique. Rowman & Littlefield International.

Foucault, Michel (2003), ‘Society Must be Defended’: Lectures at the College de France, 1975-1976, Picador.

Foucault, Michel (2009). Security, territory, population: Lectures at the Colle ge de France, 1977-1978. New York, N.Y: Picador/Palgrave Macmillan.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable