UCL European & International Social & Political Studies


UCL European & International Social & Political Studies


ESPS0018 - Political Violence and Intrastate Conflicts

Course value: 15 credits
Convenor: Professor Kristin M. Bakke
Duration: One term (term 1)
Teaching structure:
One two-hour seminar
Assessment: 2 assessed essays of 2,500 words (50% each)
Available to: Second Years, Final Years and Affiliates
Module level: Advanced

Course Description:

Why have some states been more peaceful than others? What are the reasons and mechanisms that encourage people to pick up arms and fight against each other? This course explores these questions. In the last decades, both scholars and policy makers have increasingly paid attention to conflicts going on within, rather than between, states.

The course introduces students to theoretical debates and empirical trends on intrastate conflicts and political violence. It covers conflicts across the world, including nationalist mobilization in the former communist countries, ethnic conflicts in Asia, political protest and violent conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, civil wars in Africa, and insurgencies in Latin America.

Political violence and conflicts within states are today among the biggest threats to international peace and stability. This course aims to give you the theoretical tools to help you analyze the causes and dynamics of such violence, as well as introduce you to different types of political violence and intrastate conflicts—including self-determination struggles, civil wars, and terrorism—across the world. Through class discussions and written assignments, you will be able to apply the theories and concepts learnt in class to “real world” cases.