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Anno accademico 2021/2022

Codice attività didattica
Docente Da Nominare (Titolare dell'insegnamento)
Corso di studio
Corso di laurea magistrale in Scienze internazionali (Classe LM-52)
1° anno
Secondo semestre
SSD attività didattica
SPS/04 - scienza politica
Tipologia esame
Scritto ed orale

Sommario del corso


Obiettivi formativi

The course provides foundations which are central to the "peace and conflict studies" curriculum. The disciplinary standpoint is that of peace and conflict studies. The course strongly connects to the courses titled "Conflict, security and statebuilding" and "Peacebuilding, political transition and human security".


Risultati dell'apprendimento attesi

The course will explore the major explanations provided by social science research for the causes of violence in both situations of conflict and so-called situations other than war, including criminal violence in urban environments, as well as scholarship on the impacts of violence. It will begin with a critical overview of contributions to the study of recent civil wars, exploring three broad root-approaches to understanding violence that intersect multiple disciplines: violence as a result of anarchy; violence as a result of strategic calculation; and violence as a result of individual and group psychology. It will provide particular focus to exploring the causes and dynamics of extreme violence, and consider the literature on the challenges atrocities present to building post-war settlements and peace. The course will then consider how megatrends in the contemporary world, such as climate change, migration and urbanization, are shaping violence and insecurity in peacetime contexts. It explores an emerging literature on the crime-conflict nexus, interrogating the causal factors behind criminal urban violence and teasing out the similarities and contrasts with those encountered in the civil war literature. In terms of knowledge students are expected to be able to have a good grasp of the outlined contents, while in terms of application of knowledge students are expected to be able to effectively utilize the content provided by the course in the analysis of real and hypothetical cases.



Lectures every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 16:00 – 18:00

The course is taught in two hour sessions three times a week (including 15 minute half-time breaks).

The first week will act as an overview and general introduction to the subject and key concepts. Groups will discuss their thoughts around centralissues of war and violence and identify questions and topics they would like to explore through the course. The last week of the course will act as a concluding discussion, summarising the key lessons and opening up for further group discussion reflecting on the topics covered. 

Week 1: Studying Violence: Group Discussions 

Part 1: Approaches to Understanding Violence

Week 2: Apocalypse Now? Anarchy and Civil Wars
Week 3: The Order of War: Rational Actors and Violence
Week 4: Hearts and Minds of Violence: Emotions, Psychology, and Gender

Part 2: Responses to Violence 

Week 5: Post war Justice and Reconciliation
Week 6: Reintegrating Ex-combatants

Part 3: The Future of Violence

Week 7: Urbanisationand theCrime-Conflict Nexus
Week 8: Nature’s Revenge? Climate Change and Conflict

Week 9: Course Recap and Group Discussions


Modalità di insegnamento

During lectures, student interaction is strongly encouraged and most lectures will include some group discussion and question-and-answer sessions. Some lectures will be dedicated to looking at a particular case in detail (for example, the relationship of environmental change to the onset of the Syrian conflict).


Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

This course is assessed by one final essay of a maximum 2000 words and can focus on one of the topics covered in the weekly session (questions to be confirmed).

It will be necessary to cover the reading outlined for the specifictopic you chose to write your essay on, and it is recommended that you try to cover as much reading as possible from week-to-week.

The essay is aimed to verify the student's mastery of topics covered in the course, and to evaluate critical thinking and reasoning. The ability of write convincing arguments is part of the evaluation as well.


Attività di supporto


Testi consigliati e bibliografia


Week 2: Apocalypse Now? Anarchy and Civil Wars

Kalyvas, Stathis N. (2006) The Logic of Violence in Civil War, Chapters 3 (on Barbarism)

Kaplan, Robert (1994) 'The Coming Anarchy: How Scarcity, Crime, Over-population and Disease are Rapidly Destroying the Social Fabric of our Planet’, The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 273, No. 2, 44-76.

Mitton, Kieran (2015) Rebels in a Rotten State: Understanding Atrocity in Sierra Leone (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). Introduction and Chapter 2: Anarchy.

Week 3: The Order of War: Rational Actors and Violence

Mitton, Kieran (2015) Rebels in a Rotten State: Understanding Atrocity in Sierra Leone (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). Chapter 3: Order.

Keen, David (2012) ‘Greed and Grievance in Civil War’, International Affairs, Vol. 88, No. 4, 757-77.

Week 4: Hearts and Minds of Violence: Emotions, Psychology and Gender

Baaz, M. E. and M. Stern (2009) ‘Why Do Soldiers Rape? Masculinity, Violence, and Sexuality in the Armed Forces of the Congo (DRC)’, International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 2, 495-518.

Keen, David (2002) '“Since I Am A Dog, Beware My Fangs”: Beyond a 'Rational Violence' Framework in the Sierra Leonean War', Crisis States Programme, Working Paper No. 14.

Mitton, Kieran (2015) Rebels in a Rotten State: Understanding Atrocity in the Sierra Leone Civil War, Chapter 1  – chapter on Shame.


Week 5: Postwar Justice and Reconciliation

Cronin-Furman, K (2013) ‘Managing Expectations: International Criminal Trials and the Prospects for Deterrence of Mass Atrocity,’ International Journal of Transitional Justice.

Baines, Erin K. (2009) ‘Complex political perpetrators: reflections on Dominic Ongwen’, The Journal of Modern African Studies.

Week 6: Reintegrating Ex-combatants

Mitton, Kieran (2004) ‘A Pragmatic Pact: Reconciliation and Reintegration in Sierra Leone’, in Ainley, Kirsten, Rebekka Friedman and Chris Mahony (eds.) (2015) Evaluating transitional justice: accountability and peacebuilding in post-conflict Sierra Leone (London: Palgrave).

Munive, J. and Stepputat, F. (2015) ‘Rethinking Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programs’,Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 4(1).


Week 7: Urbanisation and the Crime-Conflict Nexus

Muggah R. Deconstructing the fragile city: exploring insecurity, violence and resilience. Environment and Urbanization. 2014;26(2):345-358

Lessing, B. (2020). ‘Conceptualizing Criminal Governance.’Perspectives on Politics, 1-20.

Steenkamp, C. (2017) ‘The Crime-Conflict Nexus and the Civil War in Syria.’ Stability: International Journal of Security and Development 6(1), pp.1-18.


Week 8: Nature’s Revenge? Climate Change and Conflict

Selby, J., Dahi O.S., Fröhlich, C., and Hulme, M. (2017) “Climate change and the Syrian civil warrevisited.” Political Geography 60(1), pp. 232–244.

Werrell, C.E., Femia, F., and Sternberg, T. (2015) “Did we see it coming? State fragility, climate vulnerability, and the uprisings in Syria and Egypt.” SAIS Review of International Affairs 35(1), pp. 29-46.

Zimmerer, J. (2014) “Climate change, environmental violence and genocide.” The International Journal of Human Rights 18(3), pp. 265-280



Lectures every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 16:00 – 18:00

Ultimo aggiornamento: 05/08/2021 14:54
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