POLIS 3101 - Strategic Culture and International Security

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

The course is designed to draw together a variety of areas dealt with in International Studies. The study of the international system is first and foremost one of perceptions and perspectives. Indeed, the very depiction of the world as a single international system is a facet of perspective. The course sets out to test these boundaries and forms of perception, by first of all examining holistic approaches to looking at the world and security, and then turning to perspectives from individuals, individual states and groups of states. Elements of Politics, Security Studies, History and Area Studies are at the heart of the course.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code POLIS 3101
    Course Strategic Culture and International Security
    Coordinating Unit Politics and International Relations
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 6 units of Level II undergraduate study
    Incompatible INST 2001, INST 3100
    Assessment 1000 word short exercise 1 (15%), 1000 word short exercise 2 (15%), 2000 word research essay (30%), tutorial presentation (20%), tutorial participation (10%), multiple-choice test (10%)
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mr David Olney

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    At the end of this course the skills, knowledge and attitude developed will be:

    1. A keener understanding of government and governance.

    2. The ability to think critically and problem-solve in International Studies.

    3. Encourage mid-level research, based on a deepening of knowledge about regimes, and placing examples of them in comparative context.

    4. Developing a foundational methodology in international politics.

    5. Critical thinking and complex problem-solving.

    6. Enhance the sophistication of analytical skills.

    7. Ability to engage critically with accepted wisdoms and bias.

    9. Encourage the building of sophisticated arguments.

    10. Enhance presentational and debating skills.
    University Graduate Attributes

    No information currently available.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no recommended text book for this course. Appropriate readings will be lodged on MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    These will be indicated in the course outline.
    Online Learning
    Lectures will be recorded and made available to students. So too will links to required resources and useful links on the web (for further exploration and contemplation).
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be delivered via two hours of lecture and discussion (the latter based on audio-visual content), as well as one hour of tutorial (small group discovery). In addition, students will be expected to conduct further work via independent research and reading, based on themes that are raised in the course.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Lectures: 23 hours

    Tutorials: 11 hours

    Tutorial preparation: 14 hours

    General reading: 28 hours

    Research and writing assessments: 80 hours

    Total: 156 hours
    Learning Activities Summary

    The Course in a nut-shell:

    The course explores strategic cultures from the perspective of the general (that is, how entire states can be said to possess strategic cultures, and how does these evidence themselves through their foreign policies and ways of defending themselves in the event of threat), but also the individual (how people feel secure in the context of their place in society and the political and social systems. In the end, students will be able to assess the nature of security in all of its main facets. To achieve this, we will be moving from the macro to the micro in a number of ways, both formally in lectures/lecture-based discussions, and in the context of tutorials. Assessment is tailored to bring the student in contact with the many -- often contradictory/deceptive -- characteristics of strategic cultures. Two minor exercises will book-end the course, while a research essay and tutorial presentation will allow students to tackle issues which they themselves identify as significant.

    The Course week-by-week:

    Week 1: Introduction.

    Week 2: National Security: What is it?

    Week 3: World Systems & their bearing on security.

    Week 4: Strategic Cultures – What Are They? (State/non-state actors; formations of worldview).

    Week 5: Strategic Cultures – Two Case Studies.

    Week 6: Strategic Cultures – how do they resist, and what is threat?

    Week 7: Spectrums of threat – what are they and how do they relate to cultures?

    Week 8: Asymmetry of ideology.

    Week 9: Globalisation & the Creation of “White Noise”.

    Week 10: Security, societies and the state: who poses and who counters threat?

    Week 11: Conventional warfare & adapting to the Unconventional.

    Week 12: Bringing people and culture back in, or were they ever very far away? A contemplation of visibility/invisibility, memory/forgetting.

    Specific Course Requirements
    As this is a third-year course, it would be useful for students to bring with them an understanding of elements of history and politics.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The course as a whole pertains to small group discovery, given that it endeavours to acquaint students with research techniques and tools, and stimulates original thought, which is, of course, what intellectual discovery is all about! 
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Research Essay (2,000 words): 30%

    Minor Paper I (1,000 words):    15%

    Minor Paper II (1,000 words):   15%

    Tutorial presentation:               20%

    Participation:                           10%

    Multiple-choice test:                 10%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Tutorials are a key aspect of this course, and therefore students are required to attend them. Absences should be documented as far as possible.
    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines

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