This English-language weekly lecture series, which will be available in a digital format due to the Corona pandemic, introduces students to the basics of international peace and conflict. Like the follow-up lecture series “Managing Peace and Conflict” next winter it mainly focuses on presenting theories and concepts, exemplified by empirical illustrations. This wide approach will enable students to study topics that are more specific later, such as individual conflicts, phenomena such as nationalism or conflict dimensions such as escalation processes.
The lecture series is divided into four parts. First, we will analyze and delineate the basic concepts peace, conflict, crisis, violence, war and security. Understandings strongly diverge. This will include a digression into the normative dimension of conflict, in particular the concepts of just war and just peace and its relevance today in the debate on humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect. Second, we try to grasp the major causes of conflict, distinguishing system-level, state-level, domestic, group-level and individual factors, which often uniquely interact to generate conflict. These explanations are derived from realist, constructivist, liberal and psychological explanations of conflict, pre-supposing some knowledge of these IR theories. We also consider factors promoting peace, such as democracy, trade and joint institutions. Third, we will discuss conflict types – on a meta-level inter-state, intra-state and inter-communal conflict and hybrid types, on a meso-level various sub-types. Here I select enduring rivalries among pairs of states on the inter-state level and ethnic conflict and secessionist conflict on the intra-state level. We will go on with our fourth part dedicated to understanding the consequences of conflict, ranging from the death and the wounded to forced displacement, segregation and trauma living on in memories and narratives of conflict. We also debate unintended consequences. The concluding session is devoted to considering how sustainable peace can grow despite all those obstacles.
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- Crocker, Chester A. / Hampson, Fen Osler / Hall, Pamela (eds., 2007), Leashing the Dogs of War. Conflict Management in a Divided World, Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace.
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- Wallensteen, Peter (2011), Peace Research. Theory and Practice, Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
- Williams, Paul D. (2018), Security Studies: An Introduction, 3rd edition, London: Routledge.