Peace Building and Conflict Resolution

Ian Shields


This course examines a range of approaches to the cessation of contemporary wars and conflicts, and for the creation of peaceful, productive conditions for interethnic and inter-national co-operation, economic and social reconstruction and democratic government. It focuses on the international process and personalities involved in these processes, as well as the domestic conditions and key domestic actors in a number of case studies. It aims to provide participants with an understanding of relevant theories and empirical material for comparative analysis, and an appreciation of the differing ways in which particular conflicts tend to be viewed by participants and external commentators and public policy-makers. Grounded in theory, it will nevertheless take a highly practical approach by examining the theories in relation to case studies and real world events.

This course is aimed at: anyone with an interest in international politics, those who wish to develop a better understanding of the world today, the role that war and peace play in International Development, and why and how disputes arise and settled.  It would particularly suit those outside the Social Sciences who wish to gain a broader conceptual understanding of the International Order and develop new analytical tools.

Pre-requisite knowledge required: no prior knowledge of either International Relations or International Politics is assumed or required.

Transferable Knowledge and Skills: this course will develop critical analysis, an understanding of world affairs and the ability to capture this understanding and analysis both on paper and verbally.

Compulsory reading (to be read before the beginning of the course)

  • Oliver Ramsbotham, Tom Woodhouse and Hugh Miall, Contemporary Conflict Resolution (3rd edition), Polity Press 2011.
  • John Darby and Roger Mac Ginty (eds.) Contemporary Peacemaking: Conflict, Peace Processes and Post-War Reconstruction (2nd edition, 2008).


1 X Final, Unseen Exam – 50%

1 X Final Essay in the form of a case study on a major conflict: (2,500 to 3,000 words) – 50%

Lecture Hours: 12x 1hour 15minutes (total 15 hours)

Seminar Hours: 8x 1hour 15minutes (total 10 hours)