This course examines the linkages between conflict and development, between inequality and violence, and between the structures and interests which contribute to the continuation of violence within and between countries. It is primarily informed by a political economy approach to analysing conflict, and highlights the way in which the economic and political interests of conflict parties and their international backers may conspire to form ‘war systems.’ Additionally, the course looks at how legacies of conflict impact development through a focus on gender, trauma, and memory, inspired by poststructuralist approaches to understanding the relationship between conflict and development.
The course is divided into three parts: First, we will explore the core concepts of conflict, development and violence and introduce several basic approaches to analysing conflict: in terms of rational choice, political economy, and more anthropological approaches that foreground the meanings and social embeddedness of violence. Second, we will explore and critically probe a range of explanations for the causes and consequences of violent conflict, focusing on explanations framed in terms of natural resources and environmental scarcity and in terms of ethnic or religious identities and the impacts in terms of displacement and humanitarian crises, and the effect of violent conflict on non-war, ‘criminal’ violence. Finally, we will consider the role of external interveners in alleviating and exacerbating conflict, focusing on the challenges of externally-led post-conflict reconstruction, the role of the global arms trade and international political and economic institutions more broadly in shaping conflicts, and how the war on terror articulates with the conflicts and approaches to analysing them that we have been studying.
Throughout, the course will draw on case studies from a wide range of on-going and recent conflicts throughout the world, and students are asked to engage critically with some of the most important strands of literature, defining academic and policy debates--about the causes and consequences of conflicts, and the role of development assistance, humanitarian intervention and post-conflict reconstruction in building peace as well as in exacerbating and perpetuating conflict. Students will critically examine the relevant literature, popular discourse and media portrayals of conflict to challenge assumptions and constructively engage with each other, reaching new understandings and strengthening analytical skills.
Following the successful completion of the course, you will be able to demonstrate:
- How wars and conflicts affect development processes and vice versa
- An ability to describe and critique major theories of conflict causes and consequences
- An understanding of the international responses to global complex emergencies (wars, humanitarian disasters, and refugee-crises) and an ability to critique their problems
Dr Zoë Marriage is Reader in Development Studies, and Convenor of the flagship MSc Violence, Conflict and Development, and UG and PG modules in Security. She also convenes online modules in Violence, Conflict and Development and Critical and Human Security Studies; she is the convenor of the new online programme, MSc Humanitarian Action, which will be launched in October 2019 (subject to final approval).
Zoë has researched extensively in countries affected by conflict in Africa and is the author of Not Breaking the Rules, Not playing the game. International Assistance to Countries at War (2006, Hurst & Co). More recently Zoë has focused on the relationship between security and development in the Democratic Republic of Congo, publishing on demobilisation and the imposition and pursuit of security in numerous articles and her second book, Formal Peace and Informal War, Routledge 2013. She is currently working on a political economy of capoeira, the Brazilian dance-fight-game, researching the ways in which people present political challenges and pursue their own security through art and activism.
Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however, please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.
Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and a Record of Study will be available on request.
Week 1: Concepts and approaches
- Concepts, definitions and the links between conflict and development
- Political economy approaches to analysing violence
- Approaching conflict through a gender lens
Week 2: Causes and consequences
- Scarcity, natural resources, and conflict
- Ethnicity, religion and ‘ancient hatreds’
- Conflicts, refugees and borders
- War to peace continuities and violence in non-conflict settings
Week 3: Interventions and the role of the global North
- Post-conflict reconstruction, state building and peacebuilding
- Conflict, the arms trade and the ‘zone of peace’
- Identity, terror and the war on terror
Assessment: is optional and will be in the form of a 2000-2500 word essay to be handed in 2 weeks after the end of the course.
The course will involve visits to two London-based non-governmental organisations working on humanitarian relief in conflict zones, conflict-prevention, peacebuilding or conflict analysis (such as Médecins Sans Frontières, International Alert, Saferworld, Conciliation Resources, International Crisis Group, or Chatham House) as well as a visit to the Imperial War Museum.
Teaching & Learning
46 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.
Monday - Friday 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc.).
Sample Reading list
- Cramer, C. (2006). Civil War is not a Stupid Thing: Accounting for Violence in Developing Countries. London, Hurst.
- Duffield, M. (2007), Development, Security and Unending War: Governing the World of Peoples. Cambridge: Polity Press.
- Gutiérrez-Sanin, F. (2004), “Criminal Rebels? A Discussion of War and Criminality from the Colombian Experience ,” Politics and Society. Vol 32, No. 2 (2004): 257—85.
- Human Security Report Project (2014), Human Security Report 2013 - The Decline in Global Violence: Evidence, Explanation and Contestation, HSRP: Simon Fraser University, Canada.
- Hyndman, J. and Giles, W. (2011), ‘Waiting for What? The Feminization of Refugees in Protracted Situations’ in Gender, Place and Culture.18 (3): 361-379
- Parfitt, T.(2013), ‘Modalities of Violence in Development: structural or contingent, mythic or divine?’ Third World Quarterly, 34(7), pp. 1175-1192.
- Paris, R. (2010), ‘Saving Liberal Peacebuilding’, Review of International Studies, Vol. 36, pp. 337-365.
- Scheper-Hughes, N. and Bourgeois, P.(2004), Violence in War and Peace: an anthology, Oxford: Blackwell
Fees and Funding
A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.
- 10% discount if you apply by 31 March 2019
- 20% discount for our partner institutions
Accommodation is available to Summer School students at the SOAS halls of residence, Dinwiddy House.
In order to join our Summer School, you will need to meet the following entry requirements:
- A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age.
- Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
- A minimum English language requirement if English is not your first language:
- IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all subscores.
- TOEFL Paper-based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills.
- Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
- If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses), you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university.
- Applicants with an alternative qualification should contact us for advice.
- Applicants whose English language level do not meet out requirements may be interested in our subject-based courses with English language support.
Enrolment of Summer School applicants who don’t meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us in detail about your application.
Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.
31 May 2019