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Conflict Studies

SOU44012/SOU44014 Conflict Studies

The dominant theory of conflict that underpins Western approaches to conflict resolution is that conflict is produced by differences in identity: variously defined as cultural, religious, racial, ethnic, national. The British/Irish ‘peace process’ culminating in the Good Friday Agreement is the strategic example of such an approach. This module will look at some of the shortcomings of this approach. Firstly, that it obscures alternative theories that root conflict not in difference/identity but in the inequality and structural violence generated by capitalism in its colonial and postcolonial phases, and in the political institutions such as the nation state that act as a container for these inequalities. Secondly, that it doesn’t resolve conflict so much as freeze it, and consequently cannot deal with the traumatic legacy of violence. Given the limitations of conflict resolution we will conclude by considering some of the existential and political dilemmas posed by violent conflict and what if any role, social science might play.

Learning Objectives:

  • On successful completion students will:

Lectures & Tutorials/ Contact hours:

One lecture and one tutorial per week.

Workload: Lectures: 22 hrs; Tutorials: 22 hrs; Exams/assignments: 22 hrs; Self-study: 284 hrs. Total: 350 hours.

Recommended Texts/ Key Reading:



Penalties for late submission: Without an authorised extension, the mark given will be lowered by one grade