Conflict Resolution and Post War development
Course Code: PUBLG082
Course Tutor: Dr Kristin Bakke (Department of Political Science)
Assessment: One 3,000 word essay
Credit Value: 15
About this course
This course focuses on why and how armed conflicts do (not) end, and the political, economic, social, and psychological challenges facing post-war societies. The course begins by discussing the obstacles inherent in the war-to-peace transition and the relationship between post-conflict development, transitional justice, social reconciliation, institution-building, and peace. Drawing on both theoretical and policy debates, the course then addresses questions such as: Why do some peace settlements last, while others do not? How the social-psychological dimensions of conflict affect conflict resolution? How can outside actors help bring conflicts to an end? What explains variation in the success of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs? What are the challenges facing refugees and returnees? How does conflict reconstruction work, and how do conflict reconciliation programs affect the post-war peace? In what ways does war-time rebel governance affect the post-war order? In answering these questions, the students are encouraged to develop good social science research skills.
The questions that motivate this course are important policy questions, and the course aims to provide students with a comprehensive theoretical and empirical understanding of war-to-peace transitions. Specifically, the aims are as follows:
- To provide students with a critical understanding of the various stages in the war-to-peace transition, including the processes of reaching a settlement, implementing a settlement, and creating a social and economic environment that prevents war recurrence.
- To help students think through, both theoretically and empirically, how the different challenges facing post-war societies span questions relating to economic development, transitional justice, social reconciliation, and institution-building, as well as how these different challenges may be causally related to one another.
- To introduce students to post-conflict settings in different parts of the world.
- Through class discussions and written assignments, train the students to systematically analyze empirical cases of conflict resolution and post-war development, with the aim of informing both theoretical and policy debates.
- To qualify an international group of postgraduate students who may wish to proceed to further specialised study of institution-building in post-war societies and/or employment in a related field.
- To develop key academic and practical skills associated with reading about, understanding, and discussing conceptual issues and theoretical debates; applying concepts and theories to the empirical study of conflict resolution and post-war development; providing policy advice; and writing essays.
By the end of the course, students will be able to do the following:
- Provide a theoretically and empirically informed discussion of the various stages of the war-to-peace transition and the challenges inherent in each stage.
- Provide a theoretically and empirically informed discussion of the economic, social, legal, political, and psychological challenges facing post-war societies, including the ways in which these different challenges may be causally related to one another and to conflict recurrence.
- Understand and apply some of the key practical skills associated with working in the conflict resolution field including developing policy briefs, grant proposals, press statements, and diplomacy.
- Critically review and empirically apply different theoretical and policy debates surrounding key questions in the war-to-peace transition.
- Through class discussions and written assignments, systematically analyze empirical cases and provide policy advice based on the findings.