What you will study
This module will enhance your understanding of how conflicts arise and your awareness of the opportunities for intervening in a constructive fashion. Development is increasingly seen as a necessarily negotiated process, with some of the most challenging negotiations occurring in the presence and aftermath of conflict. The module emphasises the need to remain aware of the constraints on action and of the potential consequences, intended and unintended, of different forms of intervention.
The module takes as its starting point the idea that conflict is ubiquitous and manifested in diverse contexts, before exploring different ways in which conflicts can be addressed. As such, the module is firmly rooted in the field of development management, an area that has relevance for a wide range of practitioners and professionals working at local, national and international levels.
The module involves significant reflection and group work. You will be posting your reflections on your ‘Reflective Wall’ and sharing it with other students. You will also be interacting and working closely with other students during the Conflict Mediation Simulation exercise.
The module is structured into three parts:
Part 1: Introducing Conflict and Development
The first part will introduce you to key concepts around the interface of conflict and development. It is comprised of five study weeks and covers conflict theories, the relationship between conflict, development and change, and intervention and humanitarianism.
You will be introduced to the Reflective Wall - your own personal blog where you will reflect and comment throughout the course of the module.
Part 2: The Roots of Conflict
Part 2 will explore how to analyse conflicts, the different causes of conflicts and how to explore different elements of conflict. These include: scales of conflict, from group to national levels; methods of analysing conflicts; the role of identity in conflicts; forms of justice and injustice; the role of media in conflict; and political and economic elements of conflict. You will be introduced to many examples throughout the module, but the primary case study will be the case of the Sierra Leone civil war. In addition, you will be taught how to conduct and apply a conflict analysis.
This part of the module is made up of eight weeks of study.
Part 3: Managing Conflict and Peacebuilding
The final part is comprised of seven weeks of study and includes topics such as actors and assumptions, working in, on and around conflicts, mediation and transformation, and managing conflicts.
The highly interactive Conflict Mediation Simulation takes place during study weeks 15 and 16 and your involvement will be assessed. It is mandatory that you participate in this simulation during those weeks. If you cannot take part, you will need special dispensation from your tutor and you will have to do an alternative exercise.
After your third tutor-marked assignment, you will be guided on selecting and researching your own case study, which will be used in the examination.