MSc International Disaster Management

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Conflict Analysis

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI60451
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
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course considers the following issues:

Locating the Discipline Of Conflict Analysis
Definitions and Dimensions of Conflict
The Social Functions of Conflict
Structural Violence
Immutable Models of Conflict Behaviour
Constructed Models of Conflict Behaviour
Relative deprivation
Resource Mobilisation, Greed and Grievance


This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to analysing the phenomenon of organised violence. It attempts to provide an acquaintance with landscape of conflict research and to consider methods of comparing both historical and current instances of violent conflict. The lecture content will primarily focus on highlighting some of the more significant theoretical approaches to conflict instigation. Participants will be encouraged to engage critically with these. Throughout the course, attention will be drawn to a range of case study applications thereby seeking to offer a mix of abstract generality and contextual specificity.

Learning outcomes

Students should be able to:


Teaching and learning methods

7 x 2 hour lectures, 3 x 2 hour tutorials

Knowledge and understanding

  • Analyse the origins of inter-personal, intra-state and international conflict
  • link the occurrence of conflict and organised violence with broader 'developmental' themes

Intellectual skills

  • Consider conflict and organised violence from a number of analytical perspectives
  • Compare instances of conflict and organised violence

Practical skills

  • Apply theoretical models of conflict analysis to instances of conflict and organised violence

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Tthink critically about methods of conflict analysis

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Recommended reading

Key texts:

Demmers, J. (2012). Theories of Violent Conflict: an introduction. London: Routledge.

Jacoby, T. (2008) Understanding Conflict and Violence: Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Approaches, London: Routledge.

Other texts:

Anderson, Mary B. (1999), Do No Harm: how aid can support peace – or war, Boulder, Col: Lynne Rienner

Banks, M. (ed.)1984 Conflict in World Society, Brighton, Wheatsheaf.

Barash, D. & Webel, C. (eds.). 2013. Peace and Conflict Studies, London, Sage.

Bartos, O. & Wehr, P. 2002 Using Conflict Theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Betts, Richard K. (ed.), 2012. Conflict after the Cold War. Routledge.

Blainey, G. 1972 The Causes of War, Melbourne, Sun Books.

Besteman, Catherine (ed.) (2002), Violence: A Reader, New York: New York University Press

Bremer, S. & Cusak, T. (eds.) 1995 The Process of War, Luxembourg, Gordon & Breach.

Cashman, G. 1993 What Causes War?, New York, Lexington.

Christie, D. Wagner, R. & Winter D. 2008. Peace, Conflict and Violence, New Jersey, Prentice Hall

Crocker, C., Hampson, F. & Aall, P. (ed.) 1996 Managing Global Chaos, Washington, US Institute of Peace Press.

Curle, A. 1971 Making Peace, London, Tavistock.

Duffield, Mark (2001), Global Governance and the New Wars: the Merging of Development and Security, London and Bew York: Zed Books.

Geller, D. & Singer, J. David 1998 Nations at War: A Scientific Study of International Conflict, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Gurr, T (ed) 1980 Handbook of Political Conflict, New York, The Free Press

Harvey & Mor (1998) Conflict in World Politics, London Macmillan

Holsti, O. 2008. The State, War and the State of War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Howard, M. 2000 The Invention of Peace and the Reinvention of War, London: Profile Books

Hirst, Paul (2001), War and Power in the 21st Century, London: Polity

Jeong, Ho-Won 2000 Peace and Conflict Studies, Aldershot, Ashgate

Kaldor, M. 2012 New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era, London, Polity.

Kriesberg, Louis and Bruce W. Dayton. 2012. Constructive Conflicts: From Escalation to Resolution. Rowman and Littlefield.

Levy, J. & Thompson, W. 2010. Causes of War. Wiley-Blackwell.

Maoz, Z. & Gat, A. (eds.) 2001 War in a Changing World, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.

Mason, T. David & Sara McLaughlin Mitchell (eds) 2016. What Do We Know about Civil Wars? Rowman and Littlefield.

Mockaitis, Thomas R. 2017. Conventional and Unconventional War: A History of Conflict in the Modern World. Praeger, Santa Barbara.

Nicholson, M. 1970 Conflict Analysis, London, Unibooks.

Sandole, D. 1999 Capturing The Complexity Of Conflict. Dealing With Violent Ethnic Conflicts In The Post-Cold War Era, London, Pinter

Scherrer, Christian P., 2001, Peace Research for the 21s t Century: A Call for Reorientation and New Priorities, Institute for Research in Ethnicity and Conflict Resolution.

Schneider, G., Barbieri, K. & Gleditsch, N. 2003 Globalization and Armed Conflict, Lanham, Rowman& Littlefield.

Simmel, G. 1955 Conflict & The Web of Group Affiliations, New York, The Free Press.

Sjoberg, Laura 2014. Gender, War, and Conflict, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Stoessinger, J. 2010. Why Nations go to War. Cengage Learning.

Vasquez, J. (ed.) 2012. What do we kno

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 14
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Tim Jacoby Unit coordinator

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