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PEAC501 Theories of Peace and Conflict

An advanced introduction to the study of the empirically based, theoretical debates on the micro and macro causes of violence and armed conflict, and the potential and challenges of peacebuilding.

Theories of Peace and Conflict (PEAC 501) aims to provide a graduate-level introduction to and analytical assessment of the main theoretical frameworks and approaches employed within the field of Peace Studies as they relate to violent political conflict within, between, and across states. Specifically the course explores theoretical explanations for peace and sources of armed conflict within the contemporary international system, and provides a critical analysis of conflict resolution, post-conflict peacebuilding and alternatives to the use of force and violence.

Paper title Theories of Peace and Conflict
Paper code PEAC501
Subject Peace and Conflict Studies
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,162.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PEAC 401
Limited to
Suitable for graduates of all disciplines interested in the theoretical framework of peace and conflict studies and the key debates taking place in this discipline.
Teaching staff

Dr SungYong Lee

Paper Structure

Session topics

  1. Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
  2. Conflict Analysis
  3. Sources of Conflicts (1): Identity
  4. Sources of Conflicts (2): Systems, Economy and Resources
  5. Forced Migration and Refugees
  6. Environmental Issues and Ethics of War
  7. Conflict Transformation and Peacekeeping
  8. Human Rights and Humanitarianism
  9. Peace Negotiation and Third-Party Mediation
  10. Negotiation Simulation
  11. Post-conflict Reconstruction and Liberal Peacebuilding
  12. Nonviolent Peace Movements
  13. Culture, Religion, Education, and Peace
Teaching Arrangements
Each 3-hour seminar is a combination of lecture, discussion and reflection.
There is no core textbook for this paper. A range of readings will be drawn upon in class. Students are expected to have read the 3-5 set readings for each week and are encouraged to also read from the recommended readings list. Students are also encouraged to relate the week's readings to current events. Readings for essays and assignments will be expected to go beyond the reading lists provided here. Students should be prepared to explain and critically analyse the key arguments of readings in the class.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will develop knowledge and skills on

  • The main theories and approaches in the field of peace and conflict research.
  • The key lines of debate on the causes and resolution of conflict and contemporary peacemaking and peacebuilding practice.
  • Innovative and/or alternative models of conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
  • The key elements of research methodology.
  • Argumentation, analytical, writing, collaboration and presentational skills.
  • Making theoretically informed and empirically based arguments and relating theoretical models to contemporary issues of peace and conflict.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 09:00-11:50 9-14, 16, 18-22