Skip to main content

Unit information: Peacebuilding: Theory and Practice in 2017/18

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Peacebuilding: Theory and Practice
Unit code POLI31557
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Christie
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will introduce students to the evolution of the forms of conflict prevention and resolution, and will focus on the institutionalisation of peace-building. Students will be exposed to major debates within the academic and policy literature about the forms of international intervention and reconstruction, and will explore how peacebuilding is linked to broader processes in international relations. The course will then examine and critically engage the underlying claims of peacebuilding (including how it claims to work on behalf of individuals rather than states; how it is linked to development; and the expansion of the roles number of non-state actors). In addition to literature dealing specifically with peacebuilding a number of case studies will be used to explore the course's central themes, these will include: Cambodia, Mozambique, Haiti, South Pacific Islands and Afghanistan.

This unit aims:

  • to provide students with a theoretical and empirical understanding of the evolution of peacebuilding.
  • to provide students with the ability to explore the theories and practices of peacebuilding.
  • to develop in students an appreciation of the links between peacebuilding and liberal global governance.
  • To provide students with a consideration of the ways in which peacebuilding has been translated into policies by state actors and the non-governmental sector.
  • To provide students with an introduction to policy-based literature,
  • To offer students an introduction to a number of case studies .

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit students will:

  • Acquire knowledge of how peacebuilding has evolved, and how it has been put into action at the international level, and its effects at the state and local levels.
  • Be able to understand and critically engage the key debates surrounding peacebuilding, international intervention, and global governance.
  • Be able to apply knowledge to key issues in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction.
  • Be able to use knowledge acquired in this unit as a foundation to courses in international relations and development studies.

Teaching details

3 hr seminar

Assessment Details

Formative - 500 word essay plan

Summative - 3,500 word Essay 100%

Reading and References

  • Cousens, Elizabeth M., Chetan Kumar and Karin Wermester, eds. Peacebuilding As Politics. London: Lynne Rienner, 2001
  • Duffield, Mark. Development, Security and Unending War: Governing the World of Peoples. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007.
  • Fetherston, A.B. Peacekeeping, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding: A Reconsideration of Theoretical Frameworks in International Peacekeeping, Vol.7, no.1 (Spring 2000), pp. 190-218.
  • Keating, Tom, and W. Andy Knight, eds. Building Sustainable Peace. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2004.
  • Pouligny, B´┐Żatrice. Civil Society and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Ambiguities of International Programmes Aimed at Building New Societies in Security Dialogue, Vol. 36, no.4 (2005), pp. 495-510.