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Unit information: Peace and Conflict Psychology in 2020/21

Unit name Peace and Conflict Psychology
Unit code EDUC30028
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Williams
Open unit status Not open

Introduction to Psychology in Education



School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit aims to provide students with the knowledge to critically evaluate psychology’s contribution to understanding and improving intergroup relations. Throughout the course, students will engage with theories and empirical research which will be applied to understanding the psychological mechanisms which underlie peace and conflict and the role of education in peacebuilding. The unit will focus on psychology’s contribution to addressing questions such as:

  • What are the causes of conflict and direct violence?
  • How can we understand the impact of structural and cultural violence?
  • How can we reduce violent behaviour through interventions?
  • What role does education play in promoting peace?

The unit will begin by outlining what peace psychology is, and will then move on to the causes of violence and conflict. The latter half of the unit will address interventions and attempts to achieve resolution, reconciliation and social justice through education and beyond. The unit will consider theories and empirical research from the fields of social, political and peace psychology. It will use these theories and empirical research to address important societal issues.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the programmes students will:

  1. have a thorough understanding of theories and research in peace and conflict psychology;
  2. be able to identify how the theoretical approaches taught, can be applied to understand peace and conflict in context;
  3. be able to evaluate the role of educational initiatives in peacebuilding;
  4. be able to critically evaluate published research;
  5. have the ability to summarise relevant theories and research, and present ideas in both oral and written form.

Teaching details

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including lectures, class discussions and presentation-focused seminars. Each week, a new topic will be introduced and activities will focus on the presentation and discussion of papers related to the topic. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis.

Assessment Details

ILO 1,4, 5 : Critical analysis (40%)

Each student will be required to deliver one 15 minute individual presentation critiquing a paper.

ILO 1-5 : Essay (60%)

Students will be asked to write a 2500 word piece on how psychological research and theories can be applied to understanding peace and conflict in a context of their choice.

Reading and References

Christie, D. J., Wagner, R. V., & Winter, D. D. (Eds) (2001). Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace psychology for the 21st century. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Weekly session readings will be relevant journal articles. These will be updated based on new releases but will include papers such as:

Fiske, S. (2002). What We Know About Bias and Conflict, The Problem of the Century. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 123-128.

Hewstone, M., Rubin, M., & Willis, H. (2002). Intergroup bias. Annual Review of Psychology,53, 575-604.

Paluck, E. L., & Green, D. P. (2009). Prejudice Reduction: What Works? A Review and Assessment of Research and Practice. Annual Review of Psychology,, 60, 339-367.

van Zomeren, M., Postmes, T & Spears, R. (2008). Toward an Integrative Social Identity Model of Collective Action: A Quantitative Research Synthesis of Three Socio-Psychological Perspectives. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 504–535.