Syllabus for Non-Violent Conflicts: Causes, Strategies, and Outcomes

Ickevåldskonflikter - orsaker, strategier och utfall

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 2FK051
  • 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:
  • 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 completion of this course the student is expected to be able to:

  • identify problems and questions concerned with strategic nonviolent conflicts in scholarship and practice,
  • integrate, critically and systematically, different perspectives on strategic nonviolent conflicts in their own analyses of particular cases and problems,
  • formulate their own positions on questions regarding strategic nonviolent conflicts,
  • analyse, independently, theories and cases connected to strategic nonviolent conflict
  • Independently write an assignment within a given time frame


The aim of this course is to deepen students' understanding of the causes, dynamics, strategies, tactics, and outcomes of unarmed, popular-based insurrections. The focus is on large-scale campaigns against governments, for goals such as regime change, territorial change, or end of foreign occupation. After an introduction to the key questions and concepts in the study of strategic nonviolent conflict, the course will provide an overview of different theoretical perspectives at different stages of strategic nonviolent conflicts.

  • Some areas that will be covered in the course are:
  • Why rebel (without arms?): the main theories and debates
  • What explains the outbreak of nonviolent conflict?
  • From bombs to banners: transformations from armed tactics to nonviolence; and
  • Radical violent flank: positive versus negative flank effects.

In the course, students will enhance their academic insights concerning nonviolent conflicts as well as develop skills to analyse these conflicts independently using knowledge and methods that are anchored in contemporary research. Students will also acquire the ability to integrate knowledge and skills to make an empirical application of theoretical insights in a final paper.


The course is taught through lectures, seminars and a campaign simulation.


The examination consists of a final course memo in the form of a written academic paper of about 5,000 words in which the student will select and analyse one campaign, and apply the concepts and theories utilised in the course, in a critical, independent, informed, and well-written manner.

The written memo will be presented at a final seminar. The students will act as discussants on each other's papers.

The following grades are used: Pass with distinction (VG), Pass (G), Fail (U). There are two retake opportunities offered every year the course is offered.

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

A revised version of the reading list is available.

Applies from: Spring 2019

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Sharp, Gene Finkelstein, Marina The politics of nonviolent action

    Boston: cop. 1973

    pp 3-74, 705-768

    Find in the library


  • Mason, T. David; Mitchell, Sara McLaughlin What do we know about civil wars?

    Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016

    Forsberg, Erika. "Transnational Dimensions of Civil War: Transnational Dimensions of Civil Wars: Clustering, Contagion and Connectedness"

    Find in the library


  • Schock, Kurt Unarmed insurrections [Elektronisk resurs] : people power movements in nondemocracies

    Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, cop. 2005.


    Find in the library


  • Chenoweth, Erica; Stephan, Maria J. Why civil resistance works : the strategic logic of nonviolent conflict


    Find in the library


  • Boserup, Anders; Mack, Andrew War without weapons : nonviolence in national defense

    New York: Schocken books, 1975

    pp. 21-36

    Find in the library


  • Social movements and civil war : when protests for democratization fail Della Porta, Donatella; Hidde Donker, Teije; Hall, Bogumila; Poljarevic, Emin; Ritter, Daniel

    Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2018

    pp. 23-46, 164-191

    Find in the library


  • Rebel Governance in Civil War [Elektronisk resurs]



    Find in the library


Articles from journals will be added.

Reading list revisions

Last modified: 2022-04-26