Conflict Resolution in World Politics - POLI8320

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 7 20 (10) Recep Onursal checkmark-circle


The module aims to introduce current thinking and practice in the field on conflict resolution, conflict management and conflict transformation, including conflict prevention and peace-building. Can protracted violent conflicts be prevented, and how are they brought to an end? Is it possible to deal with the root causes of conflict? How do the wider conflicts in the international system impact on local and regional conflicts, and under what circumstances are conflicts transformed? We will explore these questions with reference to theories of conflict resolution, comparative studies and case studies. The module will focus mainly on international and intra-state conflict. There will be opportunities to discuss conflicts at other levels, such as the role of diasporas and the media in conflict and its transformation. You are encouraged to draw on your own personal knowledge of conflict situations.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 176
Total study hours: 200


International Conflict Analysis MA;
Peace and Conflict Studies (International Joint Award) MA.

Method of assessment

Essay 1, 2000 words (30%)
Essay 2, 4000 words (70%)

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Unger, B, Lundström, S. Planta, K. and Austin, B. (eds.) 2013, Peace Infrastructures: Assessing Concept and Practice. Online at

Barash, D. & C. Webel Peace and Conflict Studies 3rd Ed. (Sage, 2013)

Bercovitch J, V Kremenyuk and W.Zartman (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Conflict Resolution. London: Sage, 2009

Cochrane, F. Ending Wars, Polity Press, 2008.

Cordell K and Wolff S Ethnic Conflict. Cambridge: Polity, 2009.

Kriesberg, Louis, Constructive Conflicts, 3rd Ed. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield. 2007.

Crocker, C. et al (ed.) Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World. US Institute of Peace, 2007. (or earlier editions e.g. Turbulent Peace; Herding Cats: USIP.)

Darby, J and R Mac Ginty (eds.) Contemporary peacemaking: conflict, violence and peace processes, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2003.

Deutsch, M. et al (eds) Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006.

Wallensteen, P. (2012) Understanding Conflict Resolution: War Peace and the Global System 3rd Sage.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. have a critical awareness of the main theories and currents of thinking in the field of conflict resolution and conflict analysis

2. demonstrate an advanced understanding of the complex nature of contemporary conflicts and of the range of domestic and international actors involved in them

3. critically assess the appropriateness, scope and limitations of a range of approaches to conflict resolution in contemporary conflicts at different phases in the conflict's course

4. have an introduction to the skills involved in conflict resolution, including conflict analysis, active listening, mediation and negotiation

5. see a conflict from the point of view of different protagonists

6. appreciate the wider context of conflicts and be able to relate concepts of conflict analysis and conflict resolution to a wider understanding of world politics

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. work with theoretical knowledge at the forefront of this field

2. be aware of the ethical dimensions of the discourses and practices in conflict resolution as well as of their own work in particular

3. have a comprehensive understanding of methods and methodologies in their discipline

4. undertake analysis of complex, incomplete or contradictory area of knowledge

5. have a level of conceptual understanding that will allow them to critically evaluate research, advanced scholarship and methodologies and argue alternative approaches

6. be reflective and self-critical in their research work

7. engage in academic and professional communication with others

8. have independent learning ability required for continuing professional study


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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