Conflict and Security - POLI9340

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Security politics happens in between war and peace. Both are highly contested political concepts, as are 'conflict' and 'violence', that various theories try to decontest. The module explores the transformation of war in the contemporary era due to the disintegration of the state's monopoly on organised political violence. We will examine a diverse assortment of conflict constellations, including civil wars, counterinsurgencies and counterterrorist campaigns, along with information, cyber and hybrid warfare. What is the relationship between changes in military technology and the way particular wars are fought and justified, or conflicts managed and pacified? How to measure violence and conflict? Who has a responsibility to protect, and for whom are peace and security for? Ranging from the privatisation and commercialisation of organised political violence, globalisation and humanitarian wars, we examine the power and consequences of framing contemporary conflicts in particular ways. The module is divided in three main sections. First, we address the sources and causes of current conflicts in various hotspots across the globe. Second, we examine a variety of contemporary methods of conflict management and prevention. Third, we focus on the key question of ending conflicts and bringing peace, examining the premises and promises of democratic and liberal peace theories along with various transitional justice policies.


Contact hours

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


International Conflict and Security MA

Method of assessment

Essay, 5000 words (100%)

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

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

Barkawi, Tarak (2006) Globalization and War. Rowman and Littlefield.

Bridoux, Jeff and Milja Kurki (2014) Democracy Promotion: A Critical Introduction. Abingdon: Routledge.

Campbell, Susanna, David Chandler and Meera Sabaratnam (2011) A Liberal Peace? The Problem and Practices of Peacebuilding. London: Zed Books.

Cramer, Christopher (2006) Civil War Is Not a Stupid Thing: Accounting for Violence in Developing Countries. London: Hurst & Co.

Duffield, Mark (2014) Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merging of Development and Security. London and New York: Zed Books. *key text*

Lebow, Richard Ned (2010) Why Nations Fight: Past and Future Motives for War. Cambridge: CUP.

MacGinty R. 2006. No War, No Peace, The Rejuvenation of Stalled Peace Processes and Peace Accords. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Porch, Douglas (2013) Counterinsurgency: Exposing the Myths of the New Way of War. Cambridge: CUP.

Richmond Oliver P. 2007. The Transformation of Peace. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Strachan, Hew and Sibylle Scheipers (eds) (2011) The Changing Character of War. Oxford University Press.

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. Explain and use key concepts in the theory and practice of international conflict and security

2. Develop and apply criteria for the evaluation of different forms of international management of conflicts and of security issues

3. Evaluate and explain success and failure of different international efforts for managing contemporary conflicts and deal with security issues

4. Draw on a variety of sources of information on international conflicts and security issues, including on-line resources

5. Appreciate the ethical and normative dilemmas in the management of international conflicts and security issues

6. Identify current political challenges to international peace and security

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

1. work with theoretical knowledge at the forefront of their discipline

2. be aware of the ethical dimensions of the scholarly work done in their discipline in general 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 areas 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 orally and in writing

8. have independent learning ability required for continuing professional study


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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