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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2022/2023

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Government and International Affairs

SGIA42815: Peace Processes and Everyday Political Negotiati

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to L2K909 Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To examine theories and concepts that underpin effective peace processes through case studies of both successful and failed processes, and analysing factors which affect the outcome.
  • To investigate the role of external mediators and facilitators (non-official and official, state and non-state) in conflict.
  • To describe approaches and styles of political negotiation in conflict situations.
  • To analyse positive and negative factors that impact on negotiation.


  • Indicative module content typically includes: theories, concepts and practices needed for successful peace processes; asymmetry in negotiation; engaging non-state armed actors; international mediation case studies; multi-party mediation; cultural differences; non-negotiable factors; the impact of spoilers and the challenges of political violence on negotiation; gender perspectives; managing perceptions of peace processes among the parties’ target constituencies.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have, by the end of the module:
  • An advanced knowledge of peace processes and political negotiations and how these are impacted upon by internal and external influences.
  • An advanced knowledge of the role of third-party mediation and principled negotiation processes, and of civil society in peace processes.
  • An understanding of the methodologies used to study peace processes and political negotiation, and of the impact of our choice of methodology and conceptual framework on our understanding of conflict and negotiations, and vice versa.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will, by the end of the module, be able:
  • To understand the relationship between negotiation and peace processes in conflict sensitivity and conflict prevention.
  • To engage in research projects at MA level in the subject of conflict analysis and principled negotiation
  • To apply subject related knowledge and advanced theoretical models to the evaluation of current local and global issues, to interpret and analyse empirical data at an advanced level and according to competing explanatory frameworks, and to recognise the impact of a chosen conceptual framework on one’s research findings.
Key Skills:
  • Students will, by the end of the module, be able:
  • To demonstrate an ability to construct argument critically for both oral and written presentation from different sources of material, including material delivered orally and in an article review, report or policy document.
  • To demonstrate an independent approach to learning, critical thinking and creative problem-solving.
  • To use sophisticated techniques of information retrieval and management using an array of print and digital resources.
  • To formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English, within the discursive conventions and genres of academic writing and written to high academic standard.
  • To demonstrate effective time management.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students will be taught and learn through self-guided learning, lectures, class discussion, and seminars.
  • Students are taught through one-hour lectures, followed directly by one-hour seminars that combine different teaching approaches among them lectures, student presentations, discussions, role-plays. Each lecture will introduce the students to the key theoretical approaches and accommodate the differential knowledge and disciplinary skills of different cohorts.
  • The seminars encourage students to explore the module content in detail and guide students through required and further reading. The seminars will enable students to develop their abilities to conduct research, to communicate, to present theoretical alternatives and data, and to develop their own argumentation skills. Occasionally, seminar groups will be combined into larger two-hour sessions to accommodate specific activities. Class discussion encourages background reading, contributing to the students’ independent learning. It will further allow students the opportunity to exchange ideas, to explore issues and arguments that interest or concern them in greater depth, and to receive feedback from both the group and the lecturer on their own arguments and understanding. Class discussions and seminar tutor interventions will be the main form of formative feedback students receive on this module, and students will be made aware of this at the start of the module.
  • A 3,000 word essay will form the assessed element of the module. Summative assessment by essay formally tests the skills developed throughout the course. The essay, to be submitted at the end of teaching, tests the ability to plan a substantial piece of work, identifying and retrieving sources and selecting and displaying appropriate subject specific knowledge and understanding. It tests the ability to develop an extended discussion which utilises concepts and examines competing interpretation and analysis. It also develops key skills in sustaining effective written communication and information presentation to high scholarly standards. It enables students to demonstrate that they have sufficient subject knowledge to meet the assessment criteria, that they have achieved the subject skills and that they have acquired the module’s key skills. In particular, summative essays test the acquisition of knowledge through independent learning and the ability to apply it in critical argument in relation to a specific question. They furthermore help students to develop time management skills by working to a deadline, as well as the ability to seek out and critically use relevant data sources. The summative assessment will test skills of synthesis, analysis and critical evaluation with reference to material drawn from the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 Weekly 1 hour 9
Seminars 9 Weekly 1 hour 9
Preparation and Reading 132
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment will take the form of continuing feedback in seminars.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University