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War, Politics and Society I


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor and tutor: Jasmine Bhatia
  • Assessment: an online quiz (10%) and 3500-word essay (90%)

Module description

In assessing the centrality of war to socio-cultural change, this module will explore: its interplay with processes of state formation; its relationship to the industrialisation and modernisation of societies and their uses of science and technology; its place within political and international relations theory; and its role in shaping historical consciousness and individual and group identities. The personal and collective experience of war, its mediation and representation, and the uses of memory will also be considered. While contextualising war within its wider historiography, the module will also present issues such as nuclear weapons, terrorism, genocide, civil war, humanitarian intervention, organised crime and drones.

You will acquire a deeper understanding of the role of armed conflict in modern history than that provided by traditional accounts focused on great battles and military leaders, as well as the tools to analyse the multi-faceted manifestations of war today.

Indicative module syllabus

  • What is War?
  • Clausewitz: Philosopher of War
  • War and the Rise of the State
  • Citizens in Arms: Civil-Military Relations
  • The Way of the Warrior
  • Mind and Body in War
  • War and Genocide
  • War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
  • Humanising War

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • be able to critically apply the theories, concepts and approaches employed in the study of war and society to both historical and contemporary events and processes
  • have a broad understanding of the major historical developments in war and society
  • be able to critically assess policies, claims and arguments relating to war and society and arrive at your own judgements and perspectives
  • be familiar with a variety of sources and data relating to the study of war and society
  • have acquired practical and transferable skills of critical evaluation, analytic investigation, written argument and oral communication.