Swansea modules

Year 2 in Swansea - War and Conflict specialisation modules

The specialisation in ‘War and Conflict’ (60 ECTS) at University of Swansea comprises of three modules (two compulsory and one optional) as well as a thesis/dissertation module. The modules specialises in the theory and practice of reporting war and conflict within nations and across continents. The aim is to understand how such news is constructed, what it offers to its audiences and how it might be improved. 

Module 1 // Reporting Risk // 10 ECTS

(Compulsory Module)

This module has two functions. First, to develop an awareness of theoretical perspectives on risk society and the role of the news media in facilitating such a society. In order to do so we will examine key points of view for their contribution in developing an understanding of media coverage and representation of risk. In addition, you will need to supplement this knowledge with an awareness of issues in news practice.

In other words, risk theory will need to be understood in the context of news practice and performance, so that issues of news values, sources, objectivity and ethics will frame the theoretical approach. Second, to develop your ability to analyse and critically evaluate news media coverage of risk and its implications for journalism practice.

This module integrates risk theory and journalism practice and is therefore an attempt to understand and evaluate both theory and practice. We will do so by investigating the application of theory and practice in selected case studies. This module integrates risk theory and journalism practice and is therefore an attempt to understand and evaluate both theory ad practice. We will do so by investigating the application of theory and practice in selected case studies.

This module consists of intensive three-hour classes each week, with a strong emphasis on independent research and analysis, and working in groups towards final presentation. Teaching of this module integrates lectures and seminar sessions. Extensive student contribution and class discussion will be required, and it is important students effectively prepare for class each week. To prepare for each class, you are expected to ensure you are up-to-date with readings and complete any exercises that have been set. 

Module Facts

Semester/term: Autumn
University:
 Swansea University 
Credits: 10 ECTS
Professors: Chas Critcher & and Richard Jones

Learning Outcome

  • Understanding of risk theory
  • Knowledge of reporting of risk in the media
  • Understanding of the role of the media in social construction of risk
  • Awareness of the relationship between risk perspectives and news values


Typical Methods of Assessment

Assessment of this module is based on: one feature article (30%), one news analysis (30%) and a group presentation (40%). Assessment criteria in all cases will include a demonstration of knowledge and understanding of reporting risk and related factors, as well an ability to analyse and evaluate news media practice and coverage

Indicative Reading List

  • Adam B. Beck U. and van Loon J. (2000) The Risk Society and Beyond: Critical Issues for Social Theory. Sage
  • Allan, S., Adam, B., Carter, C (2000) Environmental risks and the media London: Routledge
  • Allan S (2002) Media, risk and science Buckingham : Open University Press
  • Beck, U. (1992) Risk Society Revisited: Towards a New Modernity, London: Sag
  • Beck, U (1999) World Risk Society. London: Polity Press

Module 2 // Contemporary War Reporting // 10 ECTS

(Compulsory Module)

Teaching is by workshops. The sessions are a maximum of 3 hours each and attendance is compulsory. Learning is a matter of individual research, class participation and discussion and reading, the bulk of which is done outside of class. It is vital that set reading and ‘reading around the subject matter’ is undertaken.

The workshops will comprise a short introduction by the tutor, a seminar discussion around the designated topic and an examination of a piece of journalistic practice. 

Module Facts

Semester/term: Autumn
University:
 Swansea University
Credits: 10 ECTS
Professors: Kevin Williams

Learning Outcome

  • Understanding of the dynamics of military-media-government relations at times of war
  • Knowledge of the history of war reporting
  • Understanding of the factors that shaped the historical development of the reporting of war
  • Awareness of role of media and journalism in the social construction of war
  • Understanding of the techniques of war reportage


Typical Methods of Assessment

The module is assessed through two essays.

  • Two essays, one of 2000 words (40%) and the other of 3000 words (60%).


Indicative Reading List

There are a vast number of texts of the history of war reporting and there is no set text for the module. However, the following books will have material on the many, if not all, parts of the course:

  • The War Correspondent/Greg McLaughlin (Pluto Press, 2002)
  • The First Casualty: the war correspondent as hero and myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo / Phillip Knightley/2000
  • Shooting the Messenger/PaulMoorcraft and Philip Taylor/2008
  • The Media at War: communication and conflict in the twentieth century / Susan L. Carruthers/2000)
  • War and the Media: reportage and propaganda, 1900-2003 / edited by Mark Connelly & David Welch/2005.
  • Reporting War: Journalism in Wartime/Stuart Allan and Barbie Zelizer (eds)/2004

Module 3a // Terrorism, Conflict and Media // 10 ECTS

(Elective module)

This module critically explores a wide range of issues in the media coverage of terrorism and political conflict.  It considers theoretical perspectives as well as international case studies to examine news narratives; framing and portrayals of Islam; the role played by social media in contemporary political conflict; perspectives of peace journalism; the 'national interest' and ethical considerations. It emphasises the application of theoretical insights to practice.

Module Facts

Semester/term: Autumn
University:
 Swansea University 
Credits: 10 ECTS
Professor: Richard Thomas

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate familiarity with discernible historical trends in the coverage of terrorism and political conflict by the media both within the Anglo-American tradition of journalism and outside it
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of issues related to media coverage of terrorism and political conflict
  • Analyse factors that determine news narratives on terrorism and political conflict and identify watersheds and turning points in such coverage
  • Demonstrate an understanding of different theoretical approaches to the topic
  • Analyse journalistic practice and identify deviations from best practice
  • Discuss ethical concerns
  • Demonstrate an understanding of alternate journalistic paradigms such as those of ‘peace journalism’
  • Incorporate theoretical perspectives into their own practice


Typical Methods of Assessment

Assessment of this module is based on a journalism project, with a specific emphasis on the application of theoretical insights. Journalism project, including essays and journalistic output – 5000 words (100%)

Indicative Reading ListThe Tabloid Terrorist/Alexander Spencer/2010

  • Media & Terrorism/Des Freedman and Daya Thussu/2011
  • Terrorism and the Politics of Fear/David Altheide/2006
  • Global Terrorism (2nd ed.)/James Lutz and Brenda Lutz/2008
  • The Terrorism Reader (2nd ed.)/James Whittaker/2003
  • Framing Terrorism/Pippa Norris, Montague Kern and Marion Just/2003

Module 3b // Violence, Conflict and Development // 10 ECTS

(Elective module)

Violence and conflict have been enduring and widespread obstacles to the promotion of sustainable development throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, and the 21st century looks set to continue this pattern.

This module examines the roots and causes of conflict and violence in developing nations and explores how and why such conflict emerge even between hitherto seemingly peacefully co-existing communities. The module asks what impact protracted and violent conflict can have upon development prospects and democratisation processes, and examines national and international responses to violence and conflict mediation processes and systems. The module also explores some of the arguments surrounding the use of aid in conflict situations, and examines the extent to which development aid and emergency relief can assist in perpetuating a state of conflict.

Module Facts

Semester/term: Autumn
University:
 Swansea University 
Credits: 10 ECTS
Professor: Krijn Peters 

Learning Outcome

  • to be able to appreciate the complexity of the relationship between conflict and (the lack) of development;
  • to be familiar with general theories and themes relating to conflict, violence and development; 
  • to be aware of definitions and trends in contemporary violent conflicts;
  • to be able to appreciate the value of both general and in-depth case studies in understanding armed conflicts.
  • to be able to assess both old and new wars and their causes 
  • to be able to critically assess the role and impact of humanitarian interventions in conflict zones
  • to have a better understanding of post-war reconstruction and reconciliation processes. 

Typical Methods of Assessment

A series of three different coursework assignments.

Module 3c // War, Technology and Culture // 10 ECTS

(Elective module)

From the late Eighteenth century onwards the relationship between war and society was changed by two permanent revolutions in France and America. Industrialisation, coupled with the growth of centralised nation states dramatically modified the conduct of large scale warfare. In this module students will seek to understand the impact of industrialisation, nationalism, technology and ideology on warfare. The course will follow the development of industrialised mass warfare from the Napoleonic period, through to the era of the 'total warfare' of WWI and WW2 and the limited conflict of the Cold War/nuclear era    

Module Facts

Semester/term: Autumn
University:
 Swansea University 
Credits: 10 ECTS
Professor: Eugene Miakinkov 

Learning Outcomes

  • An understanding of the degree to which contemporary debates about aspects of war are reflected in the historical record of war in the period since the end of the Eighteenth century.
  • A greater ability to evaluate the major theories about war and its relationship to society and to apply these to examples from the historical record.
  • An appreciation of the way in which while each era may have a specific form of warfare, the nature and meaning of war over time has significant continuities.
  • An ability to undertake systematic research into aspects of the relationship between war and society.

Typical Methods of Assessment

A presentation and two coursework assignments    

Master Thesis // 30 ECTS

This thesis module provides you with an opportunity to complete a substantial piece of research-based work as a capstone to your degree programme.

Module facts

Semester/term: Spring
University: Swansea University
Credits: 30 ECTS

Format

One sustained piece of work of 20,000 words.

Learning Outcome

  • Develop the ability to organise and present a report on a detailed area of study in the field of war, conflict and the media
  • Deepen your knowledge and understanding of the subject under investigation
  • Enhance your understanding of the research process
  • Increase your understanding of research methods and your ability to apply them to a field of research
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