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CODE 109298
SEMESTER 2° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:


The module aims to illustrate the evolution of security studies in international relations. It deals with the transformation of global security in the post-Cold War era, from contemporary wars to peace support operations and terrorism. The module provides the conceptual tools to better understand the main features and actors of international security, highlighting also practical skills for students interested in career opportunities in global affairs.



By attending the module and its activities the students will:

  • Describe the main features of the process of evolution of international security
  • Identify the role and the nature of crucial actors in contemporary security
  • Enhance proper knowledge to address vital security issues
  • Understand how theories and perspectives explain or interpret security issues like terrorism, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, civil wars, military operations, cyber security, technology and warfare, military transformation, Italian defense
  • Understand how research centres, institutions, and other actors practically deal with security issues
  • Analyse report, scientific papers, official docs on security issues
  • Present papers and documents in the classroom, also through simulation and role-playing

The module will devote a lesson on research design and methods in security studies.


  • The module aims at providing basic knowledge on the transformation of contemporary security
  • The module aims at providing a comprehensive conceptual toolkit to understand the role of actors, scenarios and security threats in the post-Cold War security context
  • The module will illustrate the debate over causes and consequences of complex social phenomenon like civil wars, terrorism, peacekeeping, multilateral peace support operations, military transformation, cyber security. The scholarly debate on the supposed decline of war will be assessed.
  • The module will examine the relationship between public opinion and war, devoting a specific attention to the role of strategic narratives
  • Military transformation and the evolution of defense policy in Europe in the post Cold war will be examined in details. The case of Italy will be investigated
  • The module aims to provide students the proper tools to understand the complexity of contemporary security, also through active learning and role-playing.


Teaching activities will be based also on active learning and seminars with experts on the field of security in order to foster debates and a constant involvement of students. Movies, blogs, papers will be adopted.


The module illustrates:

New scenarios: The transformation of contemporary conflicts, continuity and discontinuity in the “new wars”, transnational terrorism at the time of ISIL, civil wars (cases of Bosnia and Syria), counter-insurgency (Iraq, Afghanistan); fragile states and organized crime, military transformation in Europe; technology ad war: drones and cyber-security. A specific attention will be devoted to the war in Ukraine.

New Actors: Peacekeeping (features, effectiveness), Peace Support Operations and Responsibility to protect (R2P), Foreign Fighters and terrorists, NGOs and development cooperation. Focus: public opinion and wars.

Focus: Domestic actors and security issues. A case study: the evolution of Italian defense policy at the time of populism

Seminars: on Italian armed forces, peace and disarmament, migration, working in International Organizations. Experts, journalists, politicians will the speakers of the seminars.

Main topics

  • Security and Strategic studies: concepts, actors, definitions
  • International security after the end of the Cold War: change and continuity
  • The debate on the (supposed) decline of war
  • Civil wars and insurgencies
  • Terrorism at the time of ISIL
  • Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding
  • Technology and war
  • Fragile states, organized crime, and conflicts
  • Military transformation
  • Cyber security
  • Public opinion and security issue. The role of strategic narratives
  • Peace research, critical security studies and human security
  • Cases: Italian defense policy, military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the civil wars in Bosnia an Syria, the war in Ukraine, Italy and terrorism
  • Research design and methods in security studies


Compulsory texts

B.Buzan and L. Hansen, “The Evolution of International Security Studies” (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009), Chapter 1 “Defining International Security Studies”, 8-19.

Call C. T. (2010), “Beyond the 'failed state': Toward conceptual alternatives”, European Journal of International Relations, 17/2, pp.303-326.

Hegghammer, T., (2016) “The Future of Jihadism in Europe: A Pessimistic View”, Perspective on Terrorism, 10(6).

Kalyvas, S. N. (2001), “New" and "Old" Civil Wars: A Valid Distinction? World Politics, Vol. 54, No. 1, pp. 99-118

King, A. (2022), Why Did the Taliban Win?  Armed Forces and Society

Fortna, V. P. and L.M Howard (2008), Pitfalls and Prospects in the Peacekeeping Literature, The Annual Review of Political Science, 283-302

Lindsay  J.R. (2013), “Stuxnet and the Limits of Cyber Warfare”. Security Studies, 365-404



Texts at your choice (two for attending students, 4 for non-attending students) 

The students will selected from some of the following. The topic is at your choice.



Theories in security and strategic studies

Biddle, S. (2007) The past as prologue: Assessing theories of future warfare, Security Studies, 1-74


Strachan, H. (2019), Strategy in theory, strategy in practice, Journal of Strategic Studies, 1-20


Walt, S. (1991),  The Renaissance of Security Studies. International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 2, 211-239.


Selected chapters from: L.Freedman, The Future of War (Public Affairs, 2017)


Selected chapters from: B.Buzan and L. Hansen, “The Evolution of International Security Studies” (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009).


Civil wars and insurgencies


Biddle, S., Friedman J., Shapiro, J. (2012), “Testing the Surge: Why Did Violence Decline in Iraq in 2007?” International Security, 37(1), 7-40


Cederman, L-E. and Vogt, M. (2017), “Dynamics and Logics of Civil”, War Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1-25


Kolenda, C. D. (2019): Slow Failure: Understanding America’s quagmire in Afghanistan. Journal of Strategic Studies, 1-23.


Corradi, E. (2023). "Joining the Fight: The Italian Foreign Fighters Contingent of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units", Italian Political Science Review/Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, 53(2), 201-219


Peacekeeping, peacebuilding, post-conflict solutions


Autesserre, Séverine. "Hobbes and the Congo: frames, local violence, and international intervention." International Organization (2009): 249-280.


Bove V., and Ruggeri A. (2016) “Kinds of Blue. Diversity in U.N. Peacekeeping Missions and Civilian Protection”.British Journal of Political Science 46(3):681-700.


Bove V., Ruffa, C., and Ruggeri A. (2020), Composing peace. Mission composition in UN peacekeeping”, Oxford University Press. Only Introduction


Cama, G. Coticchia, F. "Political parties matter: a research agenda on interactions among elites in post-conflict democracies", Contemporary Politics, Vol. 5 issue 4, 2019, 373-392.


Howard, L.M., and A.K. Dayal. (2018), The use of force in UN Peacekeeping." International Organization 72, no. 1, 71-103.


Hultman, L. Kathman, J, Shannon, M. Beyond (2014), “Keeping Peace: United Nations Effectiveness in the Midst of Fighting”, American Political Science Review


Karlsrud, J. (2015) The UN at war: examining the consequences of peace enforcement mandates for the UN peacekeeping operations in the CAR, the DRC and Mali, Third World Quarterly, 36(1), 40-54.


Karlsrud, J.  (2019) From Liberal Peacebuilding to Stabilization and Counterterrorism, International Peacekeeping, 26:1, 1-21.



Terrorism at the time of ISIL


Basra R. and P. R. Neumann, “Criminal Pasts, Terrorist Futures: European Jihadists and the New Crime-Terror Nexus”, Perspective on Terrorism, 10(6), 2016.


Beccaro A. and Bonino , S. (2019): Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Italian Exceptionalism and Its Limits, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 1-18


Byman, D. Understanding the Islamic State. International Security, 40(4), 2016:127-165.


Hegghammer, T., “The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalization of Jihad”, International Security 35, pp.53-94, 2011.



The future of warfare, technology and war


Biddle, S., and Oelrich, I. (2016), Future Warfare in the Western Paciac  Chinese Antiaccess/Area Denial, U.S. AirSea Battle, and Command of the Commons in East Asia, International Security, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 7–48


Gilli, A., Gilli M. 2019, Why China Has Not Caught Up Yet. Military-Technological Superiority and the Limits of Imitation, Reverse Engineering, and Cyber Espionage. International Security, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Winter 2018/19), pp. 141–189


Grissom, A. (2006), The future of military innovation studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, 29(5), 905-934.


Horowitz, M, Kreps, S. and Fuhrmann, M, “Separating Fact from Fiction in the Debate over Drone Proliferation” International Security, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Fall 2016).


Lanoska, A. (2016) Russian hybrid warfare and extended deterrence in eastern Europe, International Affairs, 92/1, 175–195


Lieber, K. A.  and Press, D. G. (2017), "The New Era of Counterforce: Technological Change and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence," International Security, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 9–49.




Calderaro A., and Anthony J. S. Craig (2020): Transnational governance of cybersecurity: policy challenges and global inequalities in cyber capacity building, Third World Quarterly.


Gartzke, E. The Myth of Cyberwar Bringing War in CyberspaceInternational Security, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Fall 2013), pp. 41–73, Back Down to Earth


Jense, B., Valeriano, B., Maness, N. (2019), Fancy bears and digital trolls: Cyber strategy with a Russian twist, Journal of Strategic Studies, 42(2), 212-234


Civil wars, fragile states and organised crime


Andreas, P., “The Clandestine Political Economy of War and Peace in Bosnia”, 2004, International Studies Quarterly, 48, 29-51


Trejo, G. and  and Ley, S. (2019) “High-Profile Criminal Violence: Why Drug Cartels Murder Government Officials and Party Candidates in Mexico” British Journal of Political Science, 1-27


Newman, E. (2009) “Failed States and International Order: Constructing a Post-Westphalian World”, Contemporary Security Policy, 30/3, pp. 421-443.


Snyder, R., Duran-Martinez, A. (2009), “Does illegality breed violence? Drug trafficking and statesponsored protection rackets”, Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 52/3, pp 253-273.


The case of Italian defense


Carati, A., and Locatelli, A. (2017), 'Cui prodest? Italy’s Questionable Involvement in Multilateral Military Operations Amid Ethical Concerns and National interest', International Peacekeeping, 24(1): 1–22.


Coticchia, F. and F.N. Moro (2020) "From enthusiasm to retreat. Italy and military missions abroad after the Cold War”, IPS - Italian Political Science, 15 (1), 2020


Coticchia F., and M.Ceccorulli (2015), Multidimensional threats and military engagement. The case of the Italian intervention in Libya”, , Mediterranean Politics, 20(3), 303-321.


Public opinion, strategic narratives, and military operations


Coticchia, F., “Effective strategic narratives? Italian public opinion and military operations in Iraq, Libya, and Lebanon”, Italian Political Science Review/Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, 1, 2015, pp.1-26.


Klarevas, L. “The Essential Domino of Military Operations: American Public Opinion and the Use of Force”, International Studies Perspectives, 3(4), 417-437, 2002.


Decline of war?


Azar Gat, (2012), “Is war declining – and why?”, Jounral of Peace Research, 50(2) 149-157


Fazal, T.M. (2014) “Dead wrong? Battle deaths, military medicine, and exaggerated reports of war’s demise”, International Security, 39(1), 95-125


Sipri Annual Report (Summary)



Peace research, critical security studies and human security

Amouyel, A., “What is Human Security?”, Revue de Sécurité Humaine / Human Security Journal – 1/2006


Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research,” Journal of Peace

Research, vol. 6, no. 3 (1969): 167-191.


Roland Paris, “Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?” International

Security, vol. 26, no. 2 (2001): 87-102.


Krause, K. (1998) Critical Theory and Security Studies, Cooperation and Conflict, 33(3), 298-333



Also some texts in Italian are considered

Foradori, P., Giacomello, G. (a cura di), Sicurezza globale: Le nuove minacce, (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2014), A scelta tra i capitoli I (stati fragili), VI (insorgenza e controinsorgenza), VII (crimine organizzato trasnazionale) e XII (tecnologia).

Catanzaro A., Coticchia F., "Al di là dell'Arcobaleno. I movimenti pacifisti italiani tra ideologie e contro-narrazioni strategiche’”, A. Catanzaro and F.Coticchia, Milano, Vita e Pensiero (2018), Capitolo 1, paragrafo 1

Giacomello G., Badialetti, G., Manuale di Studi Strategici (Milano: Vita & Pensiero, 2012),   IV parte.

Colombo, A., “Guerra e discontinuità nelle relazioni internazionali. Il dibattito sul declino della guerra e i suoi limiti”, Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, 3, 2012, pp. 431-457.

Brighi E., Chiaruzzi, M. “Per un lessico della politica: pace e Guerra”, Rivista italiana di scienza politica, XXXIX, numero 1, 2009, pp. 113-129

Carati, A., (a cura di), L’Italia fra nuove politiche di difesa e Impegni Internazionali, ISPI Sudies, 2012.  

Catanzaro A., Coticchia F., "Al di là dell'Arcobaleno. I movimenti pacifisti italiani tra ideologie e contro-narrazioni strategiche’”, A. Catanzaro and F.Coticchia, Milano, Vita e Pensiero (2018), Capitolo 3, paragrafo 2.1 o 2.2 o 2.3

Foradori, P., “La costruzione di un ordine democratico globale: le operazioni di peacekeeping dell'ONU e la promozione della democrazia”, Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, 1-2007, pp. 85-112.

Foradori, P., Giacomello, G. (a cura di), Sicurezza globale: Le nuove minacce, (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2014), il capitolo VII.


Exam Board



ANDREA CATANZARO (President Substitute)

MARIA AMJAD (Substitute)








DAVIDE SUIN (Substitute)



Second semester. February 2024. See Aulaweb additional info


Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



Students have the possibility to obtain additional points by presenting in classes scientific papers or also describing movies and TV series related to security issues. The (oral) exam will assess the acquired knowledge in the field of security studies, evaluation the students’ skills in addressing specific security issues.


The  exam allows assessing the student’s capability in interpreting different security scenarios and actors.


Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
18/12/2023 12:00 GENOVA Orale
12/01/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
26/01/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
24/05/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
14/06/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
05/07/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
11/09/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale


The course contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030:

Goal 4: Quality Education

Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions


Si consigliano gli studenti con certificazione di DSA, di disabilità o di altri bisogni educativi speciali di contattare sia il referente Prof. Aristide Canepa (, sia il docente, all’inizio del corso, per concordare modalità didattiche e d’esame che, nel rispetto degli obiettivi dell’insegnamento, tengano conto delle modalità di apprendimento individuali e forniscano idonei strumenti compensativi”.