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Politics of Peace after Civil War - POL00068H

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Gyda Sindre
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

Civil wars have lasting transformative effects on the state and its politics. This module addresses the question of what happens when the fighting ends.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

Civil wars have lasting transformative effects on the state and its politics. This module addresses the question of what happens when fighting ends: What kind of peace is being forged, which actors are involved, and what are the consequences? Why are some civil war affected countries more successful at maintaining political stability while others experience chronic instability for decades after the war has ended? What explains the relative success of democratic reforms in some places and the transition to authoritarianism and illiberal peacebuilding in others? How do the actors who were fighting – the rebel groups and the militias – adapt to post-war politics and what role do they play in shaping the post-war political order? What role does political agency and gender play in shaping peace?

This module aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing post-war societies focusing on transformation, security and governance. The module will first examine and compare how civil war endings, specifically victories versus negotiated settlement, shape the evolution of post-war regimes. We will then proceed to discuss what factors may facilitate the transition to democracy following civil war, focusing in particular on elections and the political inclusion of former rebels into party politics. We will address the issue of security through the lens of ex-combatants and war-veterans to understand how these groups shape politics and the state. We will analyze the role that women play in peacebuilding and discuss whether the gendered experiences of war have implications for the quality of peace. The module is anchored in exciting, ongoing research and policy debates about peacebuilding and post-war politics addressing some of the most pressing issues facing civil war affected countries across the globe.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing countries emerging out of civil war. (PLO 1)
  • Apply and evaluate competing views and explanations of the causes of variation in outcomes, using both quantitative and qualitative evidence. (PLO 2)
  • Evaluate different peacebuilding policies and critically assess their consequences. (PLO 2)
  • Independently compare across types of countries and post-war experiences, and identify key dynamics that can account for similarities and differences. (PLO 3)


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 25 working days; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Cheng, C. a. 2018. Extralegal groups in post-conflict Liberia : how trade makes the state. Oxford University Press.

Curtis, D. & G. Sindre (2019) Transforming State Visions: Ideology and Ideas in Armed Groups Turned Political Parties. Government and Opposition, 54, 387-414.

Lyons, T. (2016) From victorious rebels to strong authoritarian parties: prospects for post-war democratization. Democratization, 23, 1026-1041.

O'Reilly, M. a. 2018. Gendered Agency in War and Peace: Gender Justice and Women's Activism in Post-Conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina. Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Piccolino, G. 2015. Winning wars, building (illiberal) peace? The rise (and possible fall) of a victor's peace in Rwanda and Sri Lanka. 1770-1785.

Söderström, J. (2011) Dissent and opposition among ex-combatants in Liberia. Democratization, 18, 1146-1167.

Söderström, J (2013) Second Time Around: Ex-Combatants at the Polls in Liberia. Journal Of Modern African Studies, 51, 409-433.

Toft, M. D. (2010) Ending Civil Wars: A Case for Rebel Victory?? International Security, 34, 7-36.

Tønnessen, L. & S. Al-Nagar (2013) The women's quota in conflict ridden Sudan: Ideological battles for and against gender equality. Women's Studies International Forum, 41, 122-131.

Wood, E. (2001) An insurgent path to democracy: popular mobilization, economic interests, and regime transition in South Africa and El Salvador. Comparative political studies, 34, 862-888.

Wood, E. (2010) The social processes of civil war: the wartime transformation of social networks. Analisis Politico, 23, 100-124.

Özerdem, A. (2012) A re-conceptualisation of ex-combatant reintegration: 'social reintegration' approach. Conflict, Security & Development, 12, 51-73.

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.