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IR5007   Terrorism and Liberal Democracy

Academic year(s): 2024-2025

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 11

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: Tuesday 2-4pm

This module addresses: conceptual and definitional issues concerning terrorism; the relationship of terrorism to other forms of political violence; the origins, dynamics and development of contemporary terrorism; the efficacy of terrorism as a political weapon; the dilemmas and challenges of liberal democratic state responses to terrorism; and case studies in terrorism and counter-terrorism. The module is convened by specialists from the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) and the School of International Relations.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 hour lecture, 1.5 hour tutorial per week + advertised office hours

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%

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


Module coordinator: Dr T K Wilson
Module teaching staff: Various

Intended learning outcomes

  • A knowledge and understanding of the evolving relationship between political violence and liberal democracy in ‘mature’ democracies
  • An in-depth understanding of several leading democracies’ experiences of terrorism on an individual country basis
  • A normative understanding of state responses to terrorism, and how they should be shaped both in the domestic and foreign policy arenas
  • An understanding of the diverse aims, motivations and politics of a range of terrorist movements
  • An understanding of the particular challenges of building viable democracies in ethnically divided societies with a long history of violence
  • An appreciation of the impact and effects of terrorism on government, the security forces, the media, the public, society and international politics.