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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LISS1024 Conflict Analysis in International Politics: Causes, Negotiation and Resolution

10 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Helena Hinkkainen

Taught: 1 Jul to 31 Aug View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

GPA of 2.8 (US) or equivalent and enrolled at a university

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module focuses on the nature and causes of armed conflicts as well as their resolution. It provides an overview and a basic framework for understanding the evolving field of conflict analysis. Initially the module focuses on motivations driving different forms of conflict, including interpersonal, group and civil violence. The second part of the module introduces students to types of intervention to conflicts and methods of conflict resolution. The students have the opportunity to explore conflict resolution methods such as mediation, negotiation, collaborative problem solving, peacekeeping operations, and other applications. The approach is interdisciplinary and juxtaposes traditional approaches used to study conflict management with new scientific studies of conflict and cooperation.


- To examine different types of conflict and social violence.
- To examine theories of violence at the interpersonal level.
- To understand the formation of group identity and the emerging aggression among groups.
- To explore competing theories on the emergence of conflict in intrastate disputes, such as ethnic and civil wars
- Provide an overview of deterrence theory, bargaining theory, and traditional approaches to conflict management
- To understand the nature of negotiation as a tool for conflict management
- To understand the use of mediation and third party involvement in negotiations and to understand and examine different mediation styles and the strategies
- To consider the role and evolution of peacekeeping operations

Learning outcomes
1) Understand and critically assess various definitions of conflict.
2) Present an understanding of various approaches to the analysis of international conflict.
3) Understand the diverse views on conflict resolution.
4) Critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of different conflict resolution approaches.
5) Apply knowledge gained in the module to cases of international conflicts.


The module will also engage in contemporary conflicts and the conflict resolution processes, but will typically cover the following areas:

• Definitions of conflict
• Explanations of conflict at different levels of analysis
• Causes of conflicts, for example greed vs. grievance and ethnicity
• Conflict mapping techniques
• Bargaining theory
• Approaches and methods to conflict resolution
• Negotiation and mediation
• Third party intervention and peacekeeping
• Case studies such as: Darfur, Kosovo, Syria etc.
• Conflict simulation

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning115.0015.00
Private study hours43.00
Total Contact hours57.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

15 hours preparatory work before the module starts: students will be asked to read excerpts from a core textbook on Contemporary Conflict Analysis as preparatory work and prepare answers to preliminary set questions for discussion in the first session. Most topics covered in the book are covered in the module so this book will be beneficial in thinking about the topics and some discussion points for the sessions.
43 hours private study during module: reading in preparation for each session, preparation for their group presentations on a particular conflict, preparation for their essay on a particular conflict and preparation for the simulation exercise on the final teaching day.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Session 4 is designed so that the first hour is a lecture, and the following 2 hours are dedicated in providing feedback on essay ideas and thoughts, i.e. case selection, structure etc. In addition, this 2 hour slot will include discussion and advice on the essays more generally.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1500 words75.00
PresentationGroup presentation25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 14/03/2022


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