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PEAC508 Psychology of Peace and Conflict

Social-psychological theories explain many intergroup conflicts and how they might be resolved. Special attention will be given to their use in conflict transformation.

Conflicts begin in human minds - therefore, understanding conflict requires the understanding of the influence of social-psychological dynamics. In this paper we will focus on social psychological concepts of intergroup conflict, such as identity and collective memory, and inquire as to how they propel groups towards conflict. We will also consider how understanding these processes can help prevent and resolve conflicts. The paper will involve lectures, discussions and reading materials.

We will take an academic approach to these subjects, studying them through the critical scholarly lens offered from empirical and theoretical research. As these concepts aim to explain intergroup conflicts, which are multi-layered phenomena often appearing at the macro-level of society, we will discuss the boundaries of each concept and the challenges of how to study them appropriately.

Overall the paper has three objectives:

  1. To expose you to a broad sample of the research and theory that exists on intergroup conflict and conflict resolution.
  2. To raise your awareness of the special issues involved in performing research in this area, due to the sensitive nature of many of the topics, as well as the complex nature of the phenomena being studied. In some cases, simple laboratory experiments with college students yield reliable and valid results. In many others, a more extensive research paradigm is required.
  3. To train you to read academic papers about complex phenomena, using a social psychological lens, and to apply it to investigate intergroup conflicts.

Paper title Psychology of Peace and Conflict
Paper code PEAC508
Subject Peace and Conflict Studies
EFTS 0.2500
Points 30 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,007.00
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,961.25

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Restriction
PSYC 315
Limited to
Limited to: MPCS
Contact

peaceandconflict@otago.ac.nz

Teaching staff

Dr Mariska Kappmeier

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students will develop knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain and critique the broader social-psychological research and theory on intergroup conflict and peace.
  2. Apply the research in social-psychology to the diagnosis of conflict and conflict resolution and provide tools for process design and evaluation.
  3. Read and write academically about complex conflict systems, using a social-psychological lens.
  4. Have a raised awareness of the special issues involved in performing research in this area, due to the sensitive nature of many of the topics, as well as the complex nature of the phenomena being studied. In some cases, simple laboratory experiments with college students yield reliable and valid results.
Eligibility

Suitable for graduates of all disciplines interested in issues related to the resolution of intergroup conflict and conflict transformation, as well as professionals and interested members of the public.

Teaching Arrangements

Weekly 3-hour seminars combining seminar-style discussions, exercises and interactive activities.

Paper Structure

Session topics:

  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. Identity
  3. Religion
  4. Trust
  5. Dehumanisation
  6. Collective Memory
  7. Collective Victimhood
  8. Reframing Group Boundaries
  9. Contact Theory
  10. Eliciting Reconciliation Reactions: Group-based emotions of guilt and shame
  11. Forgiveness
  12. Social Action and Resistance
  13. Student Presentation
Textbooks

Weekly set readings will be advised.

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Timetable

First Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
L1 Monday 14:00-16:50 9-16, 18-22