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Unit information: Conflict, Security and Development in 2015/16

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Unit name Conflict, Security and Development
Unit code POLIM1007
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Edmunds
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides an introduction and overview to key theoretical, historical and policy issues linking conflict, security and development. It begins by examining the nature of contemporary violent conflict, its relationship with questions of development and security and how different academic and policy communities have traditionally treated these issues. It goes on to critically analyse the drivers that link these themes and various international responses to them. The unit introduces conceptual frameworks for understanding the relationship between conflict, security and development across five specific themes: (1) sources and consequences of contemporary violent conflict and particularly intra-state conflict; (2) conflict prevention measures and disincentives for violence; (3) international intervention including peacekeeping, political and economic assistance and international aid; (4) post-conflict demilitarisation and reconstruction; (5) governance regimes, security and development, examining the role of international organisations, state and sub state actors in promoting and retarding development and security. This unit is only available to students registered for MSc/Diploma degrees in the Department of Politics. Please note that the Department does not permit the auditing of any of its units.


This unit aims to provide students with a theoretical and empirical understanding of development and security issues and debates in the context of contemporary conflict. The principal aim of the unit is to equip students to explore the connections between these two fields, particularly their relationship with contemporary violent conflict. The unit will therefore develop the student’s interest in and knowledge and understanding of, the role of development and security actors in violent conflict at the international, national and sub-national levels; approaches to understanding contemporary violent conflict, particularly its prevention, termination and resolution; and theories of international relations in which development and security debates are located.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will:

  • Acquire knowledge of development and security issues at the international, national and sub-national levels
  • Be able to understand and critically evaluate key debates that link conflict, security and development
  • Be able to apply knowledge to ‘key issues’ in conflict analysis, development and security.
  • Be able to use knowledge acquired in the unit as a foundation for optional units in the MSc programme.

Teaching Information

The following methods will be used:

  • Seminar discussion
  • Seminar presentation
  • Essay writing
  • Independent research
  • Note taking

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: an oral presentation supported by a handout Summative assessment: a 3,500 to 4,000 word essay

A full statement of the relationship between the programme outcomes and types/methods of assessment is contained in accompanying Programme Specifications and section B7 of the Major Change to Current Programme forms for the programmes of which this unit is a part. The assessment for each unit is designed to fit within and contribute to that approach in terms of intellectual development across each of the two teaching blocks, and in relation to knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills and attributes, and transferable skills.

Reading and References

  • Bellamy, A. Williams, P. and Griffin, S. Understanding Peacekeeping, Polity Press, 2004
  • Chabal, P. & Daloz, J-P. Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument, James Currey, 1999
  • Duffield, M. Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merger of Development and Security, Zed Books, 2001
  • Kaldor, M. New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Globalised Era, Polity, 1999
  • Miall, H. Ramsbotham, O. and Woodhouse, T. Contemporary Conflict Resolution, Polity Press, 1999
  • Rupesinghe, K. Civil Wars, Civil Peace, Pluto Press, 1998