ASTK15719U COURSE: Peacebuilding: Theories, methods and culture

Volume 2017/2018

Elective for Security Risk Management

Elective in Specialization in International Relations, Diplomacy and Conflict Studies 

Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS

Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS


Is it possible to succesfully intervene in violent conflict to create peace? Extensive violence and war leave countries without governance structures and institutions. They create divisions and animosity in societies, and gains towards peace are threatened by a high likelihood of relapse into violent conflict if justice, development and change do not manifest quickly. Yet how do some societies succeed in escaping the spiral of conflict? And some interventions do create a positive effects. What characterizes statehood and what happens in places where core functions of states are fragile? Can interventions change fundamental systems of state in unstable countries? International interventions have grown in size and numbers in recent decades, but have they improved in terms of their ability to create stability and peace? If so, why do most interventions in the name of peace still fail to bring about permanent change? And if we keep failing, why do we keep intervening? How can we study the culture and expertise in the field of peacebuilding and intervention in order to understand better the dynamics of knowledge and power in the field? And what can we learn from recent interventions?


This course is an introduction to international peacebuilding and statebuilding. For anyone interested in the logic, theory and practice of negotiating and building peace and stabilising states, this course will provide students with a broad overview of the field. The course will cover the theoretical debates surrounding the ideas of The Liberal Peace and interventions. It will provide students with analytical tools to examine the realms of peacebuilding and statebuilding interventions. It will cover the different modes within peacebuilding, including negotiations and peacekeeping and it will examine the political sociology and cultures of interveners at various levels of policy and implementation. It will give theoretical and practical perspectives on post-conflict statebuilding and reconciliation and will reflect upon war inquiries and learning from recent major interventions in order to discuss and evaluate the efficiency of interventions today.


The course is an extension of research conducted at the Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts (CRIC) (more information at The titles and reading plan of each class as indicated below is only indicative, more information will be available prior to the start of the semester.


Preliminary teaching plan

1. Introduction to Peacebuilding

2. Debates on Peace: The Liberal Peace and beyond

3. Studying Peacebuilding and Conflict

4. Negotiations of Peace

5. Peacekeeping

6. Political sociologies of intervention and intervention expertise

7. Statehood and failing states

8. Post-conflict Statebuilding

9. Post-conflict reconciliation, security and justice

10. Application to a specific conflict

11. ICT and technology

12. Negotiation of an Agreement

13. The local perspective

14. Peacebuilding and Human Rights: Two fields at odds

15. After the Fact: War Inquiries and Learning from Interventions


Anine Hagemann has a background as a diplomat and has worked within peacebuilding, human rights and rule of law in conflict and post-conflict countries for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. 

Learning Outcome

Students who complete this course, will learn how to:

  • Apply theoretical and practical concepts related to peacebuilding and statebuilding
  • Understand the dilemmas, challenges and opportunities of international engagement
  • Grasp main theoretical trends and debates in peace and conflict studies
  • Apply the larger theories of international relations to the area of peacebuilding
  • Analyse causes and dynamics of contemporary conflicts and intervention
  • Engage in critical discussion of approaches to conflict analysis and peacebuilding
  • Actively reflect on and evaluate current interventions


Competency description

The course will improve students' understanding of peacebuilding and statebuilding and intervention from perspectives of discipline and practice. It is particularly relevant for anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in the area within international affairs.  

Tentative Bibliography


1. Introduction to Peacebuilding

Boutros Ghali, Boutros. 1992. An Agenda for Peace. Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and PeaceKeeping. New York: United Nations.

Call, Charles T. 2008. "Knowing Peace When You See It: Setting Standards for Peacebuilding Success." Civil Wars 10 (2): 173 -194.

Lund, Michael. 2003. What Kind of Peace Is Being Built? Taking Stock of Post-Conflict                           Peacebuilding and Charting Future Directions. Discussion paper. Ottawa: International                            Development Research Centre

Goldstein, Joshua. 2011. Winning the War on War. New York: Dutton / Penguin.

2. Debates on Peace: The Liberal Peace and beyond

Richmond, Oliver. 2005. The Transformation of Peace. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Introduction (pp. 1-                   20).


Roland Paris. 2004. At War's End: Building Peace after Civil Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University

                             Press. Introduction and chapters 1-3, 9-10. pp. 1-62 and 151-211 (Possibly skim chapters 4-8. (pp.                              55-150)

Susanna Campbell, David Chandler, and Meera Sabaratnam (eds). 2012. A Liberal Peace? The

                             Problems and Practices of Peacebuilding. London: Zed Books. Introduction (pp. 1-8) and chapter 9    (pp. 159-173).

3. Studying Peacebuilding and Conflict

Diesing, Paul. 1992. How Does Social Science Work: Reflections on Practice. University of Pittsburgh Press.


Walker, R. B. J. 1993. Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Rothstein, Bo. 2005. “Is Political Science Producing Technically Competent Barbarians?” In European Political Science, (4): 3-13.


4. Negotiations of Peace

Holbroke, Richard. 1998.To End A War. Random House: New York. Chapters 1 to 18 (pp.


Knowledge of international relations theory, preferably with specialization in international politics.
The course will be conducted through a mix of lectures and discussion, with an emphasis on the latter. Students are expected to contribute significantly to these discussions based on regular attendance and prior reading of all class assignments.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Final assesment will be an oral synopsis exam.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner