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PPR.328: Understanding External Intervention in Violent Conflicts

Tutor: Dr Kunal Mukherjee
Term: Lent

Course Description

This module will examine the politics of external intervention in violent political conflicts and the attempts made to manage, prevent and transform these wars into more peaceful situations. The course aims to develop student understanding of how international organisations have attempted to intervene within conflict zones to prevent an escalation in conflict, to enforce UN resolutions or to assist externally mediated peace 'settlements'. The module also aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of how violent conflict has changed since the end of the Cold War and how transnational organisations such as the EU, UN and NATO have attempted to deal with the new challenges and opportunities presented since the beginning of the 1990s until the present day. Conceptually, the course will examine the principles of the liberal peace; state failure; international conflict prevention; peace keeping; and global governance. Empirically, the course will focus on post Cold War conflicts such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Be able to demonstrate through verbal discussion, written coursework and examinations, the different ways in which external third parties and in particular transnational organisations such as the UN, NATO and the World Bank have responded to changing patterns of violent conflict since the end of the Cold War.
  • Demonstrate, through classroom participation and written work, an understanding of the concept and practice of international conflict prevention, peace-keeping and peace-enforcement operations and norms such as 'conditionality' 'responsibility to protect' and 'international peace and security'.
  • Demonstrate through classroom participation and written work, an understanding of the complex relationship between conflict actors engaged in warfare and external agencies who seek to intervene within such regions, diplomatically, militarily or to provide humanitarian relief to the victims of violence.
  • Be able to critically examine, through written course work, comparative examples in the analysis of issues such as peace-keeping; post-conflict reconstruction; global governance and the impact of the media on international engagement within violent conflicts.


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

Teaching Method

Lecture (1.5 hours) and workshop (1hour) weekly.

Introductory Reading

Brown M E The International Dimensions of Internal Conflict

Cochrane F Ending Wars

Hauss C International Conflict Resolution

Kaldor M New and old wars: organised violence in a global era

Rogers P A War On Terror: Afghanistan and after

Weiss T Humanitarian Intervention

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