PIR-30025 - The Missing Dimension : Conspiracies, Spying and International Relations
Coordinator: Bulent Gokay Room: CBA2.002 Tel: +44 1782 7 33512
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

Secret/ confidential intelligence is many things: it is the agencies themselves, the business they conduct, and the information they seek, therefore intelligence refers both to a process and a product
Secret intelligence services have played an important role in politics and international relations. Any analysis of government policy, particularly on foreign affairs and defence, which leaves intelligence activity out of account, is bound to be incomplete. It may also be distorted as a result.
Many important accounts of the 20th century political history do not even mention the names of the intelligence services. This can partly be explained by the difficulty of researching the intelligence records. The bulk of the relevant records have been destroyed or else retained indefinitely by the governments. It is not easy to redress the balance. Only a careful search of the papers can produce even a fragmentary run of documents on the topic. There is also a desire not to be regarded as on the same level as the inaccurate sensationalism of many best-selling accounts of espionage.
Intelligence does not win wars. It does not shape foreign policy. Nonetheless, intelligence activities are an inseparable part of the policy-making process. One might think of the intelligence game conducted in the context of various paradigms of international relations. It is one cog in the mighty machine of command, an accessory to help the commander make decisions.
Intelligence and security studies are now one of the fastest growing areas of academic studies and public apprehension, especially since 9/11 terrorist attack in America, the war in Iraq, and 7/7 terrorist bombing in London. Today more than ever before national governments, global agencies and many significant multinational corporations have an increasing need for expertise with a good understanding of intelligence issues who can demonstrate supreme skills of analysis and judgment.
The module is concerned with the role played by secret intelligence services and intelligence communities of the modern states in the national and international politics.

The module will provide students with a framework for:
- An understanding of the importance of the intelligence activities in the politics, diplomacy and international relations.
- Examining the complex relationship between unofficial intelligence work and official policies and actions of the governments.
- The impact of various ways of policy-making on the several important events in the twentieth-century.
At a general level, the module also aims to encourage students in the development of their communication, team-working and leadership skills, demonstrating initiative and a good degree of self-organisation and time-management through the requirement to prepare research papers, to give seminar presentations, and participate actively in tutorial discussions and role-playing exercises, respectively.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

understand of the role of intelligence activity in politics and international relations;
: 1,2
firmly grasp interaction between open official diplomacy and covert intelligence operations;: 1,2
enhance their analytical capacity by writing a Research Paper for this module, and improve their communication skills by participating actively in the seminars and role-playing exercises.: 1
be familiar with some of the theoretical concepts on different natures and development of overt and covert intelligence activity in global politics;: 1,2

Study hours

20 hrs class meetings (2 hrs x 10 sessions= 20)
20 hrs preparatory reading before classes (2 hrs before each class x 10 sessions= 20)
40 hrs research (reading, collecting material and preparing pp-presentation) for seminar presentation
70 hrs research (reading, collecting data, analysing and writing) for Research Paper
TOTAL= 150 hrs

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Research Paper weighted 80%
A 3000-word essay based on a research question, chosen among the questions provided in the module handbook.
A research paper analyzes a perspective or argues a point. Regardless of the topic of research paper, finished research paper should present student's own thinking backed up by others' ideas and information. In research papers students should show some understanding of key issues, concepts and theories. There should be some evidence of thought and insight, as well as critical analysis and evaluation, and a demonstration that the student has been able to research a topic within his/ her selected field and portray his/ her findings properly. Simple narrative is, obviously, not sufficient, and will result in a low mark. A research paper is an expanded essay that presents the student's own interpretation or evaluation or argument.

2: Presentation weighted 20%
Seminar Presentation Mark. Every student is supposed to do a seminar presentation, individually or as part of a group
Presentation Mark: All of the Presentation Mark will be based on the student's seminar presentation. All students are required to prepare a detailed (at least 10 pp-slides + list of sources) pp-presentation in the class.