Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)


Department: Government and International Affairs


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to L2K609
Tied to L2K909


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To critically explore the link between development, urbanisation and violent conflict, to analyse how different forms of violent conflicts affect urban areas and vice versa how urbanisation processes affect violence.
  • To critically explore the role of (international) approaches to development, conflict prevention and post conflict reconstruction and how they are related to and affect urbanisation and local security arrangements.
  • To use the example of urban security and urban development in order to explore current thinking and approaches by state and non-state actors in designing programmes that link development and security in situation of post conflict reconstruction and state building.
  • To consider the impact of development practices on governance structures, society and the international system.
  • To analyse the interplay between development/poverty and security in urban areas and evaluate approaches to tackle or prevent urban insecurity.


  • The module will introduce students to the trends of urbanisation and analyse the dynamic relationship between urbanisation, development, poverty and violence.
  • Students will learn about concepts and theories of rapid urban change and, focussing on the city, critically explore arguments that link underdevelopment and poverty to violence.
  • The module will analyse how different forms of violent conflicts, wars and military interventions are related to and affect cities.
  • Using case studies, students will analyse characteristics of urban violence, its causes and effects, explore how people cope with the everyday experience of violence and which measures they take to prevent it.
  • The module will introduce and critically explore (international) approaches and interventions to enhance urban security, focussing on urban peacebuilding in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To identify and explain, demonstrating interdisciplinary awareness, key approaches, ranging from orthodox to critical, to development in conflict prevention, conflict intervention and post-conflict reconstruction focussing on the urban area.
  • To understand how development policies and practices are shaped by, and impact on, state structures, society and the international system.
  • To understand and critically evaluate the main explanatory frameworks for explaining the linkages between development, urbanisation, conflict, security, state-building and civil society.
  • To apply these explanatory frameworks to historical and contemporary cases.
  • To situate development and urbanisation within the wider context of conflict and conflict studies, and to look at development, conflict prevention and peacebuilding from an urban perspective.
  • To learn about and apply a selection of conceptual and methodological tools to prevent and mitigate urban violence.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To identify, analyse and evaluate different approaches to development and urban conflict prevention, conflict intervention and post-conflict reconstruction and to understand how these approaches are shaped by, and impact on, prevailing paradigms and power structures.
  • To appraise the importance of socio-cultural and historical context to understanding the various forms of development and security practices and their impact on local societies and power structures (both formal and informal).
  • To apply some of the studied approaches 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.
  • To engage in research projects at MSc level in the subjects of development, urbanisation and conflict.
Key Skills:
  • To construct and synthesise arguments critically for both oral and written presentation from different sources of material, including material delivered orally and in reports and essays.
  • To demonstrate an independent approach to learning, thinking (self-)critically and creatively, and problem-solving.
  • To use sophisticated techniques of information retrieval and management using an array of print and digital resourceS.
  • To participate in and reflect on collaborative group work.
  • To formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English in an effective way, within the discursive conventions and genres of academic writing and written to high academic standards.
  • To demonstrate effective time management

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

  • The module will be delivered as a block in workshop format over a period of an evening and two full consecutive days, and will involve a mixture of lectures, short presentations, discussion and small group work, and a role play or oral presentation based on real or constructed cases.
  • Summative assessment will include a pre-workshop article review or role briefing, and a post-workshop module essay, report or policy document. Which pre- and in-workshop assessments are chosen is dependent on the module convener, so as to maximise flexibility for the interdisciplinary team delivering the programme. Which post-workshop assessment is selected is in the hands of students (in consultation with the module convener), so as to maximise flexibility with a view to the wide range of professional backgrounds and needs students attending the course are expected to have. The post-workshop assignment has to be directly linked to one of the themes discussed during the workshop. The pre-workshop assignment is designed to provide students with a focused task to prepare them, through self-guided learning, for the workshop’s discussions and/or role play, the knowledge, analytical pointers and literature advice for which will be provided through a virtual induction.
  • Formative assessment is intended to develop students' oral communication and academic writing skills, as well as effective time management. Students will receive continuing formative feedback in seminar and group discussions. They will receive formal formative feedback on their role play or oral presentation in a debriefing session after the event, in which students’ performances will be discussed in view of the learning outcomes.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop 1 Michaelmas or Epiphany Term 2 days 18
Preparation and Reading 132
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Role Brief or Article Review Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Role Brief or Article Review 1,000 30%
Component: Report or Essay or Policy Document Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report or Essay or Policy Document 2,500 words 70%

Formative Assessment:

Role play or oral presentations; continuing feedback in seminar and group discussions.

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