Syllabus for Causes of Peace

Orsaker till fred

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 2FK050
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Peace and Conflict Studies A1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2015-05-25
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2019-05-09
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2019
  • Entry requirements:

    Fulfilment of the requirements for a Bachelor's degree with a social science subject as the main field of study.

  • Responsible department: Department of Peace and Conflict Research

Learning outcomes

After the course, students should be able to:

  • Critically deliberate upon the different components of the concept of peace and demonstrate knowledge on the different ways in which peace can be measured.
  • Demonstrate a deepened understanding of the different explanations to peaceful relations between states and be able to apply concept such as "security communities" and "zones of peace".
  • Trace the crucial causes of peace in countries that have been spared from intrastate armed conflict, despite sharing numerous characteristics with countries that have experienced such conflicts. As part of this, students should be able to identify conditions that are crucial for cooperation between groups.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of empirical examples of "zones of peace".
  • Independently delimit, design and write a final course memo within the specified time limit.


Peace and conflict research arose as a field devoted to understanding the causes of war; contemporary peace and conflict research also focuses on conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Causes of peace, however, are understudied. Shifting the focus from causes of war to causes of peace can generate profound insights about peace - as well as war - as it asks new questions which may highlight factors previously overlooked. Empirically, the peace and conflict research field focuses on countries in conflict or in a post conflict stage, thus, countries that never have experienced conflicts are neglected. In addition, very little has been done on why some areas in a region of civil war remain at peace. This course arises from this lacuna and will focus on the concept of peace as well as the causes to inter- and intrastate peace.

The course is divided into three sub-themes. First, the concept of peace will be discussed as well as ways in which peace can be measured. Second, causes of interstate peace will be examined. In this section concepts such as security communities and zones of peace will be central. Third, the origins of intrastate peace will be studied. A crucial component of this is to scrutinise conditions for intergroup cooperation. Finally and importantly, the course will also examine why certain areas of a country suffering from civil war remain tranquil.


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


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 per year.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Spring 2021

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Boulding, Kenneth E Stable peace


    Purchase recommended. See Course Guide for further info.

    Find in the library


  • More, Thomas; Baker-Smith, Dominic. Utopia

    London: Penguin Books, 2012

    Purchase recommended. See Course Guide for further info.

    Find in the library


  • Davenport, Christian; Melander, Erik; Regan, Patrick M. The peace continuum : what it is and how to study it

    New York: Oxford University Press, 2018

    Find in the library


  • Kemp, Graham Keeping the peace : conflict resolution and peaceful societies around the world


    Find in the library


  • Wallensteen, Peter Quality peace : peacebuilding, victory, and world order

    New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015.

    Find in the library


  • De Waal, Alexander Advocacy in conflict : critical perspectives on transnational activism

    London: Zed Books, 2015

    Find in the library


Articles, e-books, and book chapters available through electronic services of the library will also be included in the reading list. Detailed and up-to-date information about the reading list for this year will be made available in the Course Guide.