GV4E3      Half Unit
Democratisation, Conflict and Statebuilding

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof James Hughes CON5.05


This course is available on the MSc in Comparative Politics and MSc in Conflict Studies. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

An optional course for the MSc Conflict Studies. Other students will be admitted subject to space. This course has limited availability (is capped), and requires that students (regardless of Department or MSc programme) obtain permission from the teacher responsible.  It is capped at 2 groups.   The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, 11 October 2013.

Course content

This course provides a theoretically informed assessment and critique of the debates on the relationship between democratization, violent conflict and state-building. It seeks to explain why some state-building projects have succeeded while others failed or are failing. Case studies will be drawn mostly from post-communist Europe and Eurasia, principally focusing on the Western Balkans, North and South Caucasus, and Central Asia, including Afghanistan. Themes considered include: theories and forms of state-building, democratization, nationalism and nation-state building, internal armed conflicts; conceptualising 'failed state'; nationalist mobilisation and the 'nationalising' state; 'ethnic democracies'; authoritarian state-building; colonial legacies; secessionist crises and national and ethnic conflict management; the political economy of armed conflicts; democracy promotion, international conditionality and intervention; the politics and security challenges posed by of 'frozen conflicts'. As an LSE Moodle course, most of the weekly essential readings are available on-line.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to submit one non-assessed essay (2,500 words) and prepare one group seminar presentation.

Indicative reading

Roland Paris and Timothy Sisk eds, The Dilemmas of Statebuilding, Routledge, 2008; David Laitin, Nations, States and Violence, Oxford, 2007; Philip G. Roeder and Donald Rothchild eds, Sustainable Peace. Power and Democracy after Civil Wars, Cornell, 2005; James Hughes, Chechnya. From Nationalism to Jihad, Penn Press, 2007; Gwendolyn Sasse, The Crimea Question. Identity, Transition and Conflict, Harvard, 2007; James Hughes & Gwendolyn Sasse (Eds), Ethnicity and Territory in the Former Soviet Union, Routledge, 2001; Christoph Zurcher, The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict, and Nationhood in the Caucasus, New York University Press, 2007; David Chandler, From Kosovo to Kabul: Human Rights and International Intervention, Pluto, 2002; David Chandler, Empire in Denial. The Politics of State-Building, Pluto, 2006; Jan Koehler and Christoph Zurcher eds, Potentials of Disorder Explaining Conflict and Stability in the Caucasus and in the Former Yugoslavia, Manchester, 2003.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 4.2
Merit 80.3
Pass 12.7
Fail 2.8

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2011/12 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 64.6%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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Lectures (Q2.5)


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Recommend (Q2.9)