The course is offered during the spring semester. It can be a part of the Bachelors’ programmes in politics (politices kandidatprogrammet), social sciences (samhällsvetarprogrammet), Peace and Development Studies (kandidatprogrammet i freds- och utvecklingsstudier). The course is also open for students following freestanding courses.
After the course, students are expected to be able to:
describe general patterns in the causes, development and resolution of conflicts at various levels of analysis
explain and discuss central questions and theories on causes, development and resolution of conflicts
compare and critically evaluate different explanatory models for the onset and development of armed conflict
independently seek, gather, and evaluate information and scientific texts on armed conflicts
identify empirically and critically evaluate central obstacles and problems for conflict resolution, conflict management, and durable peace
independently conduct a basic analysis of central obstacles and problems for conflict resolution, conflict management, and durable peace in an ongoing armed conflict as well as identify and motivate strategies to manage these obstacles and problems
actively and independently take part in seminar discussions, do short presentations as well as opposing and defending an independently written thesis
recognise and formulate a relevant scientific question and relate this question to relevant scientific literature
separate descriptive, explanative and normative studies
independently describe various methods and techniques for analysis, especially forms of comparative methods
understand the need to define concepts – theoretically and empirically
be familiar with different strategies for generalizing knowledge
use and distinguish between primary and secondary sources as well as literature
use and distinguish between methods for social science data collection
use basic knowledge and techniques on source criticism
discuss scientific texts from a methodological perspective
independently solve assignments within allotted time
The aim of the course is to deepen the students’ understanding of theoretical and empirical problems in the study of the outbreak, development and resolution of armed conflicts. Focus is directed upon conflict processes within and between states and different analytical levels – individual, group, state, and regional – are considered. The course further aims to introduce theoretical and methodological issues in Peace and Conflict Studies as well as develop the ability to independently analyse empirical issues and scientific texts.
The course consists of three modules.
Module 1. Theories on the causes of armed conflict (7.5 credits) Theories of the causes and dynamics of armed conflict within and between states is the centre of attention in this module. Causes and escalatory processes are analysed theoretically and empirically. Particular attention is given to the decision to use force to solve incompatibilities. During the module, different theoretical perspectives and levels of analysis are contrasted with each other.
Module 2. Conflict Resolution (7.5 credits) During this module, structural, strategic, and psychological problems and obstacles to conflict resolution and durable peace are examined. Furthermore, the module also includes training the ability to independently conduct a theoretically grounded analysis of a current conflict.
Module 3. Methods and thesis (15 credits) The module begins with lectures, practices, and seminars about the research process and scientific methods. After this general introduction, all teaching is done in smaller supervising groups, where all students are allotted a specific time for supervision. The aim of the module is to provide students with a basic knowledge in scientific methods, to train the ability to independently conduct a smaller scientific study, and – at the same time – further the student’s knowledge within a limited field of study. The module ends with the students writing a thesis of 9 credits that is defended in a public seminar as well as the student acting discussant on an another student thesis.
Teaching is done through lectures and seminars. While all lectures are done in English, students can choose if they want to conduct their examinations in English or Swedish.
Examination is conducted primarily through written assignments. The final module – Methods and thesis – is examined through workshops, seminars and a written independent thesis that is defended orally in a seminar as well as through being discussant on a fellow student’s thesis.
Students can choose if they want to do tests in Swedish or English. Grades are Fail, Pass, and Pass with distinction. Grading criteria are handed out at the start of course modules. To acquire the grade Pass with distinction on the entire course, one needs to acquire Pass with distinction on at least 50% of the course credits.