New Dimensions of Security in the Risk Age
Why does the World Economic Forum publish its annual Global Risks Report and how does it arrive at its findings? As governments such as the United Kingdom issue National Risk Registers to guide policy makers, this module allows students to examine the security dimensions of living in what sociologists have termed a ‘World Risk Society’. It highlights the new nature of vulnerability in an era of contested and often risky science, as well as the impact of globalization on how we conceptualise and think about security. The module shows how key stakeholders such as industry, media, governments and politicians have to play crucial roles in not only shaping responses to these perceived risks, but also how to appropriately manage them. Students will be introduced to dilemmas and challenges that security risks pose for policy makers in the post-Cold War era from Kosovo, the 9/11 terror attacks, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. Most recently so-called Islamic State, climate change, SARS and COVID19 disease outbreaks, and cyber-attacks have captured attention.Concepts such as Security Paradigm Shifts, Omission versus Commission; the Risk Calculus, and Precautionary Principle will be discussed. While these issues are not necessarily new in a historical sense, this module shows how they have garnered renewed attention through the prism of risk. Students then analyse a range of global risks such as terrorism, cyber-attacks, pandemics and climate change that threaten global critical infrastructure in domains such as aviation, financial, IT, and maritime networks and space communications. Policy responses and governing by risk are finally surveyed, from data trawling, biometrics and risk profiling to crowd sourcing and horizon scanning in National Risk Assessment Exercises.
The following outcomes are emphasized:
1. An ability to understand and evaluate a range of new security challenges and policy responses in a World Risk Society interconnected through globalization and technology
2. The linkage between industry, media, politics, and science and its relevance to global security affairs
3. The ability to collate and evaluate arguments from different sources and theoretical perspectives
4. The ability to formulate and articulate views coherently in written and oral forms
5. Critical thinking, analytical and reading skills