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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PIED5213M Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr James Worrall

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

It is widely assumed that an important link exists between conflict, complex emergencies and liberal forms of global governance. However, the relationship remains analytically challenging and empirically problematic. This module aims to improve understanding of the concepts and modalities underpinning international orthodoxy on the topic. Conflict, complex emergencies and global governance addresses two fundamental questions: - What are the key theoretical and policy issues linking conflict, complex emergencies, and global governance? - Where are the analytical lines of demarcation between conflict, complex emergencies, and global governance?


On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
(a) demonstrate an advanced understanding of the economic and political modalities of contemporary forms of internal and regionalised conflict;
(b) show a competent familiarity with the key humanitarian, developmental and security policy responses and organisational adaptations that are emerging among state and non-state actors in relation to such instability;
(c) indicate a clear understanding of the background and complexity of current humanitarian interventions;
(d) make oral and written presentations on relevant topics that are coherent and cogent; and
(e) be capable of undertaking independent research within the structure of a guided and indicative reading list.


The course builds on policy research and consultancy that has been completed for a wide range of international organisations. The course links the themes of conflict analysis, aid policy and global governance. The significance of globalisation for the emergence of internal and regionalised conflict is first examined. Of particular importance is the development of transborder war economies capable of supporting forms of political authority no longer based on the traditional nation-state. This analysis is used to broaden current understandings of the nature of complex political emergencies. The main forms of humanitarian, developmental and security adaptations to such instability are examined. The privatisation of aid and security is of particular interest, together with the trend for development and security policy to merge in the post-Cold War period. The international response to conflict appears to becoming increasingly regionally differentiated. This process is discussed with reference to Africa, Middle East and the Balkans. Issues relating to conditionality and containment are examined, together with the growing emphasis on conflict prevention, civil society and social reconstruction. Finally, these trends are brought together as an example of the evolving structure and relations of global governance.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will be required to prepare for discussions in seminars through extensive reading of sources listed on the module reading list. In addition to this, students should spend time preparing for their assessments which should include finding and using sources not listed on their reading list.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 6,000 words100.00
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: 30/06/2021 11:55:12


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