module specification

GI5008S - Peace and Conflict in Theory and Practice (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Peace and Conflict in Theory and Practice
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
40 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
110 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Briefing Paper (2500 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

This module aims to:

• Introduce students to competing theories of peace and conflict
• Explore the nature and causes of conflict in the contemporary era
• Provide an understanding of some of the institutions and organisations (governmental and non-governmental) that work in conflict situations
• Analyse the varied objectives and methods of such organisations
• Introduce the core practical skills for work in relevant fields, thus enhancing employability


• Approaches to the study of peace and conflict; theories of peace, conflict and violence; positive and negative peace LO1, LO2

• International institutions with responsibilities to counteract or reduce conflict (e.g. UN, NGOs, regional organizations); peacekeeping, conflict prevention, crisis management, humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding LO3

• Key practical skills for peace work and understanding the types of organisations in which to pursue a career in this field LO1, LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

• Most weeks’ teaching will consist of a two-hour combined lecture and workshop and a one-hour seminar. Each lecture/workshop will comprise an interactive lecture and one or more activities undertaken by small groups. The seminars will involve discussions centred on pre-set questions and readings
• This module is practically oriented and a heavy emphasis is placed on employability, which is embedded throughout the module in the following ways: guest lectures and workshops facilitated by practitioners such as non-governmental organisations; simulations and role-play exercises exploring the practicalities of working for peace; the briefing paper component of assessment and related class activities; and guidance and formative feedback on producing a briefing paper for an organisation working in this field
• The module makes extensive use of blended learning, primarily through full use of the dedicated Weblearn site for the module, including interactive use of the mail and discussion tools, module information, lecture PowerPoint slides, and scanned copies of key texts that are not available electronically
• Reflective learning will be encouraged through the practical activities and the regular interactive lectures, workshop activities and seminar discussions. Students will be required to attend all classes, to engage in the set activities, to prepare in advance by undertaking assigned readings, to complete coursework by deadlines, and to reflect and act on the feedback they receive

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will have gained:

1. An understanding of both the main theoretical approaches to peace and conflict, and the key practical skills involved in peace work
2. A critical appreciation of the central debates concerning the nature and causes of conflict in the contemporary era
3. An understanding of the key institutions and organisations working for peace today, together with the range of methods they use in attempting to realise their objectives in peacemaking and peacebuilding

Assessment strategy

Assessment is based on the following elements:
1. A classroom debate based on the topic of the lecture, with feedback given to students at the end of the class. This will take place in week 21.
2. A briefing paper, worth 100% of the final grade. It will be 2500 words in length. This must be submitted by week 26.



Barash, D. and C. Webel (2017) Peace and Conflict Studies, 4th ed. (London: Sage)
CQ Researcher (2010) Issues in Peace and Conflict (London: Sage)
Wallenstein, P. (2011) Peace Research: Theory and Practice (London: Routledge)
Webel, C. and G. Johansen (eds) (2011) Peace and Conflict Studies: A Reader (London: Routledge)


Anderson, M. B. (1999) Do No Harm: How Aid can Support Peace or War (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner)
Bellamy, A. J. and P. D. Williams (2010) Understanding Peacekeeping, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Polity)
Chenoweth, E., Lawrence, A. and Kalyvas, S. N. (eds) (2010) Rethinking Violence: States and Non-state Actors in Conflict (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press)
Cramer, C. (2006) Civil War Is Not a Stupid Thing: Accounting for Violence in Developing Countries (London: Hurst)
Duffield. M. (2001) Global Governance and the New Wars (London: Zed Books)
Kaldor, M. (2012) New and Old Wars, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: Polity Press)
Keen, D. (2012) Useful Enemies: When Waging Wars is More Important Than Winning Them (New Haven: Yale University Press)
People Building Peace,
Polman, L. (2010) War Games: The Story of Aid and War in Modern Times (London: Viking)
Pouligny, P. (2006) Peace Operations seen from Below: UN Missions and Local People (London: Hurst)
Richmond, O. and H. F. Carey (eds) (2005) Subcontracting Peace: The Challenges of NGO Peacebuilding (London: Ashgate)
Van Tongeren, P., Brenk, M., Hellema and J. Verhoeven (2005) People Building Peace II: Successful Stories of Civil Society (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner)
Willetts, P. (2010) Non-Governmental Organisations in World Politics: The Construction of Global Governance (London: Routledge)
Zelizer, C. and L. Johnston (2005) ‘Skills, Networks and Knowledge: Developing a Career in International Peace and Conflict Resolution’: