POLIS 5005 - Strategic Cultures and Unconventional Conflict

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

The world system has been redefining itself in novel ways since the end of the Cold War. Terrorist attacks on New York, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Barcelona and London, as well as the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon, have demonstrated the impact of these deadlier forms of power and fear that can have an impact on developed and developing countries alike. No longer is national security seen as a strictly military issue, as many other non-military factors are emerging in discussions on how to protect the political sovereignty of individual states. Governments find it increasingly difficult to counter the work of people-smugglers, narcotics traffickers and terrorist groups. These organisations are armed with large amounts of untraceable cash, easily accessible commercial technologies, and a new degree of ruthlessness (as demonstrated by the work of the modern terrorist). Ideology has, moreover, provided a further complication in this complex matrix: the willingness to die for a cause, a feature of modern political violence that can negate the ability of national governments to secure their international boundaries and the safety of their citizens within those borders. The diffuse and globalised nature of many of these transnational threats makes their operations difficult to decisively eliminate. Even relatively small or weak states and international actors, using conventional military means in unconventional ways, coupled with misinformation strategies that permeate modern communications, can significantly constrain the actions of larger, better-equipped military opponents. This course sets out to examine how strategic cultures and unconventional conflict are beginning to undermine the traditional discourse on global security and the instrumentalities of international power.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code POLIS 5005
    Course Strategic Cultures and Unconventional Conflict
    Coordinating Unit Politics and International Studies
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 2 hours per week
    Incompatible INST 5005
    Restrictions Available to GradCertIntSt, GradDipIntSt & MA(IntSt) students only
    Course Description The world system has been redefining itself in novel ways since the end of the Cold War. Terrorist attacks on New York, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Barcelona and London, as well as the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon, have demonstrated the impact of these deadlier forms of power and fear that can have an impact on developed and developing countries alike. No longer is national security seen as a strictly military issue, as many other non-military factors are emerging in discussions on how to protect the political sovereignty of individual states. Governments find it increasingly difficult to counter the work of people-smugglers, narcotics traffickers and terrorist groups. These organisations are armed with large amounts of untraceable cash, easily accessible commercial technologies, and a new degree of ruthlessness (as demonstrated by the work of the modern terrorist). Ideology has, moreover, provided a further complication in this complex matrix: the willingness to die for a cause, a feature of modern political violence that can negate the ability of national governments to secure their international boundaries and the safety of their citizens within those borders. The diffuse and globalised nature of many of these transnational threats makes their operations difficult to decisively eliminate. Even relatively small or weak states and international actors, using conventional military means in unconventional ways, coupled with misinformation strategies that permeate modern communications, can significantly constrain the actions of larger, better-equipped military opponents. This course sets out to examine how strategic cultures and unconventional conflict are beginning to undermine the traditional discourse on global security and the instrumentalities of international power.
    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 successful completion of this course, students will have:
    1 A critical understanding of the origins and evolution of the concept of Strategic Culture
    2 A critical understanding of different traditional/state-based conceptions of Strategic Culture
    3 A critical understanding of the diverse challenges currently impacting on Civil-Military relations
    4 A critical understanding of the ways in which threats are perceived and responses to them are shaped
    5 A heightened awareness of the difficulty of defining and achieving security
    6 A critical understanding of Australia's position and role in regional and global security
    7 The ability to critically evaluate written materials and political developments
    8 The ability to produce coherent and well substantiated arguments
    9 The ability to make clear and confident verbal presentations
    10 The ability to express ideas confidently, thoughtfully and respectfully
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-6
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 7, 8
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 8
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 9
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-10
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 7-10
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 7, 8, 10
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This subject will include seminars on key topics as well as student presentations.
    Workload

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

    2 x 1-hr seminars per week 24 hours per semester
    12 hours reading per week 144 hours per semester
    8 hours research per week 96 hours per semester
    4 hours assignment preparation per week 48 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 312 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    Schedule
    Week 1 Introduction
    Week 2 Strategic Cultures—What Are They?
    Week 3 Comparing Strategic Cultures
    Week 4 National Security—What is it?
    Week 5 Spectrums of threat
    Week 6 Intervention—In Theory And In Practice
    Week 7 Capacity Building And Stability Operations
    Week 8 Strategic Cultures—how do individuals and groups resist perceived threats?
    Week 9 Asymmetry of ideology
    Week 10 Security, societies, and the state—who poses and who counters threat?
    Week 11 Conventional warfare & adapting to the unconventional
    Week 12 Student presentations
  • 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
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Course Learning Outcomes
    1000 word minor paper Formative and Summative 15% 1-6
    Oral presentation Formative and Summative 15% 8, 9
    5000-7000 word major paper Summative 70% 1-10
    Assessment Detail
    Minor Paper: each student must submit a minor paper of 1,000 words based on a question/ questions from various topics - 15% weighting.

    Oral presentation: each student must complete an oral presentation of between 10 and 15 minutes' duration on one of the topics covered in this course - 15% weighting.

    Major paper: students must submit a major essay of between 5,000-7,000 words related to one of the topics covered - 70% weighting.



    Submission
    All assignments are to be submitted electronically via MyUni.
    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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