Non-Violent Conflicts: Causes, Strategies, and Outcomes

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 2FK051

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
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)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 27 October 2022
Responsible department
Department of Peace and Conflict Research

Entry requirements

Fulfilment of the requirements for a Bachelor's degree, from an internationally recognised university. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

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.