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PPR.327: Understanding the Internal Dynamics of Peace Processes

Tutor: TBC
Term: Not available 2013/14

Course Description

The course is intended to give students an understanding of theories of conflict resolution, an appreciation of the practical and ethical difficulties of peace making in protracted conflicts, and an opportunity to develop an in-depth analysis of contemporary peace processes, both in specific conflicts and comparatively. By the end of the course students should have a firm grasp of the main conceptual approaches to conflict and conflict resolution, and an understanding of how these apply to contemporary cases. They will also be introduced to the skills of mediation and negotiation.

This is a 10 week module which is taught in Michaelmas term only. Starting from a conceptual appreciation of the varieties and functions of conflict, the course will consider the stages in the development of conflict, from origins to termination, and the importance of social and international context. The course will focus on the key concepts of violence and peace as experienced in contemporary ethnic conflicts, such as Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and South Africa among others. The course aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of what 'peace processes' are, why they begin, why they break down and aims to give an appreciation of conflict management techniques such as mediation, negotiation and settlement.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate through verbal discussion, written coursework and examinations, the range of conceptual debates surrounding the termination of political violence and the dynamics of negotiations and peace settlements
  • Demonstrate, through classroom participation and written work, knowledge of the key stages in conflict termination and in particular, the connection between the various stages in that process from negotiation, settlement and post-conflict implementation.
  • Be able to critically examine comparative examples in the analysis of issues such as structural violence; ripe moment theory; mediation; the role of 'spoilers' in emerging peace processes; and the dynamics of negotiations.
  • Demonstrate an ability to apply theory to empirical cases.


40% coursework and 60% exam.
Coursework: 1 essay of 3000 words. Exam: 2 hours.

Teaching Method

1 workshop (2 hours) weekly.
The course is supported by online materials on the dedicated course web-site.

Introductory Reading

Cochrane F Ending Wars

Darby J & MacGinty R (eds) Contemporary Peacemaking: conflict, violence and peace processes

Knox C & Quirk P Peace building in Northern Ireland, Israel and South Africa: transition, transformation and reconciliation

Lederach J P Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation across Cultures

Miall H, Ramsbotham O & Woodhouse T Contemporary Conflict Resolution

Zartman I W O Elusive Peace

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