IR449      Half Unit
Conflict and Peacebuilding

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr David Rampton


This course is available on the MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Global Politics (Global Civil Society), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research) and MSc in International Relations Theory. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the Student Statement box on the online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed.


A basic background knowledge of the subject would be an advantage.

Course content

This course is intended for those interested in theoretical and practical approaches to the question of peace, the problems of conflict and violence, and responses to them particularly in the form of liberal peacebuilding and statebuilding. The course is divided into three unequal but interconnected parts. The first part examines ideas and debates about the causes, contexts, dynamics and characterisations of conflict. The second explores and problematises the nature and meanings of peace and peacebuilding. This leads into the third section which is concerned with a critical engagement with the range of international responses to conflict associated with the discourses and practices of liberal peacebuilding and statebuilding. The seminars explore the nexus between theory and practice. Although the course and its readings are mainly theoretical and conceptual rather than empirical, students are encouraged to apply the ideas to actual cases, past and present.

Watch a short introductory video on this course:


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

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

One mandatory 2,000-word essay, marked by the seminar teacher. One two-page outline of assessed essay.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading guide will provided at the first meeting. Useful survey texts are: Oliver Ramsbotham, Hugh Miall and Tom Woodhouse, Contemporary Conflict Resolution: The Prevention, Management and Transformation of Deadly Conflicts, 3rd ed (Polity, 2011); Chester Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall (eds), Leashing the Dogs of War (USIP, 2007); David Keen, Complex Emergencies (Polity, 2007); Karen Ballantine and Jake Sherman (eds), The Political Economy of Armed Conflict: Beyond Greed and Grievance (Lynne Rienner, 2004); Oliver Richmond, The Transformation of Peace (Palgrave, 2006); Chester Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall (eds), Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a Complex World (USIP, 1999); Peter Wallensteen, Understanding Conflict Resolution, 2nd ed (London: Sage, 2007); David Chandler, International Statebuilding: The Rise of Post-Liberal Governance (Routledge 2010); Roland Paris, At War's End: Building Peace after Civil Conflict (Cambridge University Press 2004); Mark Duffield, Development, Security and Unending War (Polity Press 2007).


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2014/15: 61

Average class size 2014/15: 15

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information