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Conflict & Development - POL00018M

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Rob Aitken
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

The module examines understandings of development and the intersections of social conflicts and citizenship in contemporary development.

The definition and measurement of development remains contested but has significant implications for contemporary development practices. We examine a range of approaches to the definition of development as involving "needs", "capabilities", and "rights". Contemporary practices emphasise development as a process involving the participation of the poor, we examine the potential for and limitations on the participation of the poor in development in comparison with theories which approach development as a "power" or "discourse".

The second half of the module examines the interrelations between development and conflict. How are inequalities - both "vertical" and "horizontal" - related to the emergence of violent conflicts? Does the exploitation of natural resources, or the patterns of political development that result from resource exploitation, contribute to armed conflicts?

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the modules students should be able to answer the following questions:

What is development?

What are the implications of how we define or measure it?

What are the implications of current theories for development practice?

How participatory can development be?

What role for civil society?

How do we understand power in development processes?

What are the relations between development and conflict?

Are there correlations between patterns of development and violent conflict?

How do we understand the dynamics of violent conflicts and their relations with development?

How are inequalities of power and wealth related to conflicts?

Can development aid contribute to conflicts? How can these risks be mitigated?


Task Length % of module mark
4000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive oral feedback through seminars and in feedback and guidance hours. Written and oral feedback will be given on formative work within two weeks of submission and on summative assessment within six weeks of submission.

Indicative reading

Kothari, Uma and Martin Minogue (eds) (2002) Development Theory and Practice: Critical Perspectives, Basingstoke, Palgrave

Sen, A.K. (1999) Development as Freedom, Oxford, OUP

Mac Ginty, Roger and Andrew Williams (2009) Conflict and development . Abingdon: Routledge.

Duffield, Mark (2001) Global governance and the new wars: the merging of development and security. London: Zed Books.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.