Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development


This module provides a grounding in analytical approaches to the political economy of violence, conflict and development by discussing empirical trends, difficulties of data collection and the importance of categorization and boundaries to matters of violence.

Topics covered

Foundational theories on conflict and violence including gender perspectives, debates about the origins of human violence (anthropological, historical, psychological sources of violence) and the role of violence in historical change will be considered.

Against this background, the course explores how development theory has treated violence and conflict at different times before focusing on competing contemporary theories and claims about the causes and dynamics of conflict. The focus next shifts to the structures and manifestations of violence including themes related to boundaries, war economies, inequality, land and the environment. Next students will explore different facets of intervening in violent conflict including humanitarian aid, conflict resolution and reconstruction. The course ends on the links between war/violence, and knowledge production, discourses and ethics, with a focus on terrorism and the war on terror and the ethical challenges of conducting research on violence.


Each module is assessed by five written online assessments (‘etivities’*) comprising 30% and one 5,000 word essay comprising 70% of the module mark. The etivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve.