Master’s studies

Syllabus for Local Perspectives on International Peacebuilding and State-building Interventions

Lokala perspektiv på internationella freds- och statsbyggande insatser

A later update of this course syllabus has been published.

Syllabus

  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 2FK045
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Peace and Conflict Studies A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG).
  • Established: 2015-05-25
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 27, 2015
  • Entry requirements: A Bachelor of Arts degree with at least 90 credits in courses in social sciences.
  • Responsible department: Department of Peace and Conflict Research

Learning outcomes

After the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify and critically discuss the central dilemmas that appear when international actors support peace- and state-building initiatives in post-civil war countries.
  • Trace how local elites are able to govern without formal institutions.
  • Identify the conditions under which informal modes of governance can have a positive respectively negative effect on post-war security.
  • Gain a clear understanding of how local groups and communities may perceive and respond to international peace- and state-building initiatives.

Content

How do local actors – such as governing elites, local communities, ethnic minorities, ex-combatants and other war-affected groups – perceive and react to international interventions to build peace and state institutions in the aftermath of war? This course seeks to address this question. During the last decades the international community has invested considerable time and energy in assisting conflict-ridden countries in making the difficult transition from civil war to peace. The stated objective of such interventions – often referred to as peace- and state-building initiatives – is generally to (re)construct formal state institutions and foster collective identities and norms based on democratic and inclusive ideals. International actors thereby hope to prevent the outbreak of new violence. Recent experiences have, however, shown that such interventions seldom achieve their stated objectives. Not only do peace- and state-building initiatives often generate façade institutions – whereby much power continues to be concentrated in informal networks – many local communities perceive the former as foreign and oppressive interventions that marginalise their political and economic influence.

The aim of the course is to provide an alternative perspective on contemporary peace- and state-building processes, where the experiences and actions of local actors and groups are put in focus. The course will, more specifically, address the following questions: Why is it so difficult to construct formal, functioning state institutions in the aftermath of civil wars? How do local elites govern without institutions? Do informal modes of governance sow the seeds of new violence, or can they also be used to further peace? How do local groups and communities view and respond to international peace- and state-building initiatives?

The course is carried out through lectures and seminars where the students discuss and critically assess the course literature. The acquired knowledge, as well as the ability to integrate knowledge and skills and independently formulate and solve problems, is accounted for a in final academic paper.

Instruction

Instruction/teaching is given in the form of lectures and various seminars.

Assessment

Examination and final grading is based on student performance in two respects:

  • A final course memo in the form of a written academic paper
  • Active participation during seminars and lectures
Grades: Pass with distinction (VG), Pass (G), Fail (U). Two retake opportunities are offered every year the course is given

Reading list

Applies from: week 28, 2016

Compendium and articles will be added.

Syllabus Revisions