Civil War, Conflict Management and Peacekeeping

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: Term 1
Teaching: 2 hour weekly seminars

Lecturer: Galina Yemelianova

The module begins with a consideration of the principal peace and security challenges which exist, including civil war and theories of armed conflict, failed and weak states, and the emergence of so-called ‘new wars’.

The first part of the module also covers debates regarding the methodological analysis of civil war, and debates about the causes and nature of this type of armed conflict. The module then considers the origins and the classical model of peacekeeping; the challenges of post-Cold War peacekeeping; humanitarian intervention and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’; conflict prevention; and the key challenges of peacebuilding after violent conflict.

This module examines the major forms of intrastate armed conflict, focusing principally on civil war and state failure. It also considers the various approaches that are undertaken by international actors to manage conflict, including peacekeeping. Specifically, the module will:

  • Examine the sources, causes and nature of armed conflict, particularly civil war and state weakness. This will include an analysis of types and patterns of civil war, and a consideration of debates about their onset, termination and recurrence, and the ‘historical context’ of civil war.
  • Explore the methodological challenges of studying violent conflict, and a critical analysis of some of the theories of conflict which exist and debates about changes in the nature of armed conflict, including ‘new wars’ and ‘failed states’.
  • The module will apply these debates and theories to an in-depth analysis of a number of contemporary and historical case studies.
  • Upon the basis of this learning, the module will then explore the evolution of international peacekeeping, humanitarian intervention, and other approaches aimed at containing conflict and managing international order.

The module will approach the subject of civil war and conflict management within the broader realm of international politics. It will go beyond narrow descriptive analysis, in order to address a number of broader debates in international politics through a focus on these processes and activities.


  • 4500 words written work (90%)
  • Oral presentation (10%)

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