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Conflict Studies - 10ECTS

SO44011 Conflict Studies

Module Content/Outline:

In this module we will focus on the relationship between the state, conflict and violence. We will start with conventional social theory wherein the state or ‘good governance’ is conceived as the solution to the ‘problem’ of conflict. We will trace the influence of this theory in contemporary approaches to humanitarian intervention and peacemaking.  We will ask whether western intervention and the projection of its ideas of good governance are the solution to conflict or one the principle causes.Finally we will query the role accorded by the state to social science; ie is to gather the knowledge required by the west to manage the non-west.

Learning Objectives:

On successful completion students will have a critical understanding of:

  • to distinguish different forms of violence and their relationship to conflict,
  • critique current thinking about the relationship between violence, conflict and the state,
  • apprehend the role of social science in colonial and ‘post’ colonial adventures, the consequent ‘crisis of representation’ and reflexive turn.
  • analyse the problems created by the imposition of Western concepts of the state and ‘good governance’ on the rest of the world.

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:

  • Brewer, J.D. (2010) Peace Processes: A Sociological Approach, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Finlay A. (2010) Governing Ethnic Conflict, Consociation, Identity and the Price of Peace, London: Routledge.
  • Wolfe, P.   (1998) Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of an Ethnographic Event, Continuum.


Examination:Coursework only. The module is assessed based on coursework