Political economy of violence, conflict and development

Key information

Start date
End date
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Development Studies

Module overview

This module provides a thorough analytical grounding in different social science approaches to violence and conflict, from civil wars to a range of other manifestations (e.g. systematic violence against women, large-scale urban violence, ethnic/religious pogroms and internationalist ‘terrorist’ violence) and their linkages to development problems. It presents ideas for understanding the origins, dimensions, dynamics, costs, and prevention of this broad range of violent conflicts, and tests ideas and approaches through a number of relevant case studies. Specific topics include:

  • war and historical change;
  • development theory and conflict/violence;
  • the means of violence;
  • violence and gender;
  • violence and religion;
  • gangs and communal violence;
  • international dimensions of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction.

A particular feature of this module is the group case study presentation, accounting for 30% of the total module grade. Students form groups of three or four and present an analytical case study on a place/theme as a video or animated powerpoint. Students attend a weekly lecture and participate in a weekly seminar group. Seminar sessions include student presentations and group discussion of assigned readings related to the lecture topics.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module


At the end of this module, a student should be able to demonstrate:

  • detailed knowledge of, and a rigorous and coherent analytical approach to, the multiple forms of violence and conflict in developing countries
  • knowledge of the prevalence, characteristics, consequences and possible causes of "civil wars" and conflicts in developing countries
  • knowledge of other forms of violence that are not exclusive to but are common in developing countries, including violence linked to credit/ debt relationships, non-civil war communal violence (riots, pogroms, etc), violence linked to crime, rape, and violence within the household
  • an ability to assess data on violence and conflict cautiously and critically
  • analytical skills enabling them to assess the validity of alternative claims about the scale and scope of violence/ conflict and about causes of violence and conflict and possible preventative measures that might be designed at the policy/ institutional level
  • an ability to evaluate the role of violence in developmental change




Teaching takes place through a weekly 1 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial.


Method of assessment

100% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit an essay each worth 50% of the final grade, a blog report worth 20% of the final grade and a 10 minute Case Study Video presentation worth 30% of the final grade. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules