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Security: Actors, Institutions and Constellations


Admission requirements

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


The provision of security has increased in complexity over time. The public provision of security is divided amongst several public entities, the pure public provision of security is deemed an illusion, and citizens demand a role in this framework as well. The very concepts of internal and external security become fluid as well, not in the least because of the growing importance of cyber security. Lastly, this multi-actor approach plays in a multilevel setting.
Different governance models can be applied to this interaction. New important questions and dilemmas can be discerned from the changing relationships between security actors. What are the benefits in terms of innovation, efficiency and efficacy? Further, what are the implications for democratic accountability, the upholding of civil rights and other governance issues surrounding the emergence of hybrid forms of security provision? At the same time, it is important to discuss the different theories on the role that technologies play in security provision and what repercussions this has for security governance and the organization of security actors.

Course Objectives

After finalising this course, students are able to:

  1. Identify the different types of actors responsible for the provision of security, and recount using practical examples how and why each of these actors have competences in the provision of security;
  2. Identify the different ways security providers coordinate actions with each other in a security constellation, in terms of junior partner, competitive and networked models;
  3. Apply these models in the analysis of practical coordination between security actors;
  4. Identify current and future ways how technology impacts the provision of security on the different levels discussed, both in a positive and a negative way;
  5. Define the concepts of accountability and oversight in relation to security provision, and are able to analyse differences in institutional mechanisms related to these concepts depending on the actors and governance models used;
  6. Engage in a public debate with stakeholders on the multi-actor and multi-level nature of security provision, the coordination between different actors, and accountability issues;
  7. Conduct a SWOC/T analysis as if they were a professional in the field, either from a public or private perspective;
  8. 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

This course consists of seven seminars. In addition, online learning material in the form of short videos will be provided before each session, which the students have to watch in preparation.

Attendance is highly recommended

Total study load: 140 hours

  • Lectures: 21 hours

  • Self-study: 119 hours

Self-study consists both of reading the material provided, watching the videos, and writing the assignments.

In this 5 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:

Midterm assignment (group assignment)

  • 25% of total grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade must be compensated

Final paper (a SWOC/T analysis of a security actor)

  • 75% of total grade

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit possible

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 75% final 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 arrangements
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. Joery Matthys

dr. Vlad Niculescu-Dinca