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IR3057 Armaments and International Relations

SCOTCAT credits:30
Academic year(s):2017/8
SCQF Level 9
Planned timetable:1.00 pm - 2.00 pm Thu

The goal of this module is to introduce students to academic debates and theoretical frameworks that give insights into the impact of armaments (their development, characteristics and proliferation) on international relations. As IR scholars have long recognized, the availability of modern armaments is a key determinant of the international distribution of power. Some have even gone so far as argue that the technological characteristics of armaments fundamentally determines the nature of the international state system. Meanwhile, certain policymakers and NGOs contend that arms dynamics (e.g. arms races and the spread of light weapons) contribute directly to the outbreak of wars. This course will equip students with the analytic tools needed to critically examine both these issues and others. To accomplish this objective, the module will first (weeks 2-5) examine broad theories about how the development of distribution of armaments affects the international state system. Then, we will focus (weeks 6-7) on the particular issue of whether the 'excessive' production and/or availability of armaments can cause wars. Finally, in the three last sessions (weeks 8-10), we will examine how contemporary phenomena -the globalization and Europeanization of arms production - are shaping this particular domain. Ultimately, the understanding that students will gain through this course will enhance their development as political scientists and their ability to work in fields as diverse as: government, NGOs, international organizations, and the corporate sector.

Place in programme(s) and relationship to other modules


Optional for International Relations and BA (Intl Hons) International Relations

UG Pre-requisite(s):IR2005 and IR2006

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact:1 x 1-hour lecture (x 10 weeks), 1 x 1-hour tutorial (x 10 weeks), 2 consultation hours with Coordinator (x 12 weeks). 2 hours examination feedback in week 1 of following semester.
Total module hours:
  • Scheduled learning: 20
  • Guided independent study: 280

Assessment pattern

UG As defined by QAA:
  • Written examinations: 50%
  • Practical examinations: 0%
  • Coursework: 50%
UG As used by St Andrews:3-hour Written Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%
UG Re-assessment:3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator:Dr M DeVore
Module teaching staff:Dr M DeVore