SOC20330 Sociology of Peace, Conflict & Justice

Academic Year 2023/2024

When students consider the causes of violence and constructive alternatives, it is critical for them not only to develop intellectual understanding, but also to analyse their own values and the values of others, and to be exposed to the actual practice of peace. In other words, studying peace requires not only cognitive ability but also critical understanding of the normative values that underpin our current understanding of peace. This module aims at addressing a variety of topics that intersect the notions of conflict, peace and justice. The first part of the module is dedicated to conflict theories and to a sociological understanding of collective violence, wars and genocides. Nearly all recent wars have been civil wars - within national states. Ethnic conflicts are widespread. New conflicts are in prospect. This course describes various commonly accepted, but often erroneous, notions of the causes and consequences of war and deterrence. The second part is dedicated to a discussion on how peace is understood today and on the historical-sociological processes that have shaped the agenda for peace, in particular what is known as “liberal peace”. The third part deals with the notion of justice and how different approaches to justice have been utilized and have given rise to “transitional justice”. The fourth and the last part brings into this equation the notion of memory and remembrance, together with some empirical examples from different geo-political settings addressing the further topics of reconciliation, trauma and victimhood in relation to peace, conflict and justice. The module is designed to enable students to explore the taken-for-granted aspects and normative presumptions behind the relationship between peace, conflict and justice. The aim of the module is to provide students with analytical tools to better comprehend structural and historical reasons for both the successes and failures of peace practices and to introduce complexities in post-conflict settings.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

The broad goal of this course is to provide students with the key notions and approaches on peace, conflict and justice.

Learning outcomes for this module aspire to the following goals:

• Understanding the main concepts used to address linkages between peace, conflict and justice in post-conflict settings
• Being able to identify and differentiate between the main sociological explanations in relation to peace, conflict and justice as opposed to explanations posed by activists, lawyers, practitioners or policymakers
• Being able to apply studied concepts to a variety of contemporary arenas
• Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of concepts and the agendas behind them and being able to engage with them critically
• Developing an awareness of global concerns

I would like to create an open atmosphere of discussion, dialogue, and questioning. I want to move away from what is known as the “banking concept” of education in which I make “deposits” that you receive, memorize, and repeat. This requires the following:
• Don’t fall prey to the temptation to let me do all the explaining. Education is enhanced through active engagement. Bring your insights, ideas, questions, and thoughts to class.
• Your participation is dependent on your familiarity with, and thoughts on, the readings. By enrolling in this course, you and I enter into a social contract; I come to class prepared and I anticipate that you will as well.
• I expect that each person’s opinions and views will be respected (whether or not you agree). Try to remain open to perspectives and ideas you may not have considered before.

Indicative Module Content:

Conflict Theories
Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide
Liberal Peace
Retributive and Restorative Justice
Transitional Justice
Peace-building and Reconciliation
Memory and Commemoration
Cosmopolitan Memory
Standardization of Memory

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Multiple Choice Questionnaire (Short): Short multiple choice quiz (five questions, each question 2 points) based on class presentation and readings.
The quiz must be submitted via Brightspace between Feb 28 to Mar 4.
Week 7 n/a Graded No


Essay: Final Essay, 2000 words Week 12 n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire (Short): Short multiple choice quiz (five questions, each question 2 points) based on class presentation and readings.
The quiz must be submitted via Brightspace between Apr. 4 and Apr.8
Week 10 n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire (Short): Short multiple choice quiz (five questions, each question 2 points) based on class presentation and readings.
The quiz must be submitted via Brightspace between Feb 7 and Feb 11.
Week 4 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided on assessed coursework as individual comments published in the VLE, in group sessions at lectures/seminars, and/or in person during office hours as appropriate.

Name Role
Dr Lea David Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 12:00 - 13:50