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IR3058   Armed Forces, Societies and Governments: An International Perspective on Civil-Military Relations

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 1

Planned timetable: Mon 10 am

This module introduces students to academic debates about relations between governments and military organisations. Armed forces are both essential to states' security, yet also pose a latent threat to governments. Indeed, many more governments are overthrown by military coups d'├ętat than succumbed to foreign invasions. Consequently, governments in developing states face the challenge of ensuring themselves against the risk of military interventions in politics. While the menace of military interventions in politics hangs over developing states, even advanced industrial democracies face challenges in their civil-military relations. To shed light on these issues, we will examine the timeless questions of civil-military relations (through classic texts) as well as how the changing nature of military organizations over time. We will also focus on debates about the impact of different modes of civil-military governance in developed states. Finally, we likewise examine civil-military relations in developing states, devoting particular attention to the causes and consequences of military coups d'├ętat.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass 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.

Scheduled learning hours: 22

Guided independent study hours: 278

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 0%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 100%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr N Rossi
Module teaching staff: Dr Norma Rossi

Intended learning outcomes

  • Know how to use IR theory to understand and appreciate how civil-military relations shape world politics.
  • Be able to assess the pros and cons to different forms of civilian control over armed forces.
  • Be able to evaluate the risk of military interventions in politics in states with different characteristics (e.g. wealth, ethnic diversity and legacies of past civil-military relations).
  • Know the fundamental ideas of a number of prominent scholars who have addressed the issue of civil-military relations.
  • Be able to critically engage texts and ideas in tutorial sessions and written essays.