MA Peace and Conflict Studies

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Peace and Social Agency, Security and Intervention: Theories and Practices

Unit code POLI70991
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module concentrates on the key theoretical and conceptual constructs that can help us understand peace-related interventions (e.g. peacebuilding, peacekeeping, mediation in peace negotiations) and local peace agency in a wider context. The module will introduce students to key pieces of literature and place an emphasis on the critical deconstruction of ideas and structures. In keeping with the critical ethos that is associated with Peace and Conflict Studies in Manchester, strong emphasis will be placed on issues of power, agency and bottom-up approaches to peace. In this course, we will concentrate on both, the agency that people and communities have in building peace, and on questioning the peace that is rolled out for them as part of international intervention in their various forms. Different types of interventions will be critically discussed to highlight their limitations and the power relations that characterise them.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able:

  • interrogate key concepts and theories in peace and conflict studies.
  • consider the nature of power and agency in relation to peace, conflict and resistance.
  • engage critically with relevant literature and the most important thinkers in Peace and Conflict Studies.
  • comprehend the shortcomings and political implications of external interventions (e.g. peacekeeping, peace mediation, peacebuilding)
  • consider the tensions and complementarities between bottom-up and top-down approaches to building peace.
  • understand how the thinking in Peace and Conflict Studies has changed throughout its different generations.
  • use the theoretical and conceptual knowledge acquired in this module as a foundation for the semester 2 core module that will look at research methodologies and case studies.
  • demonstrate improved teamwork, writing, presentation and research skills.


Teaching and learning methods

The module will be delivered in ten two-hour blocks of teaching. In the first three seminars, the convener will introduce the underlying driving forces and revolutionary dynamics. As of week 4, students will be involved in the dissemination of knowledge through group presentations.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 15%
Written assignment (inc essay) 85%

Assessment activity

Length required

Weighting within unit




Reflective piece



Group Presentation

20 min



Recommended reading

A detailed weekly reading schedule is laid out in the handbook. The following are general texts that should give you an idea of the scope of the field:


    • Richmond, R., Pogodda, S. and J. Ramovic (2016) The Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace (Houndmills: Palgrave)
    • Richmond, OP (2020) Peace in International Relations (London: Routledge)
    • Rambotham, O., H. Miall and T. Woodhouse eds. (2011) Contemporary Conflict Resolution (London: Polity).
    • Richmond, OP ed., (2010) Palgrave Advances in Peacebuilding: Critical developments and approaches (Houndmills: Palgrave).
    • Shepherd, Laura J (2017) Gender, UN Peacebuilding and the Politics of Space: Locating Legitimacy (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
    • UN (1992) An Agenda for Peace (New York: United Nations).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sandra Pogodda Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Monday 2.00-4.00

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