Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module SGIA47515: Participatory Approaches to Peace and Development

Department: Government and International Affairs

SGIA47515: Participatory Approaches to Peace and Development

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.
Tied to L2K609, L2K909


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To understand and critically challenge the concept of ‘participation’ in peacebuilding research
  • To understand and critically challenge the concept of ‘participation’ in peacebuilding practice
  • To develop knowledge about the different ways and stages in which participation can occur in peacebuilding contexts
  • To critically analyse the impact of participatory approaches on both the researcher / practitioner and the recipient society or community
  • To develop an ability to critically reflect on the ethics of (non-)participation in peacebuilding contexts


  • This module investigates the recent trend of peacebuilding missions to include local stakeholders and the recipient societies in the different stages of the peacebuilding operation. A similar trend is affecting peacebuilding research, which is becoming increasingly participatory in nature.
  • The module addresses the question of ‘participation’ in the practice and research of peacebuilding. It will encourage reflection on the notion of ‘inclusion’, that is, on the question of which actors need to be included in any participatory project. This includes questions such as “Who is local?”, “What makes a legitimate contribution to peacebuilding?” and “Which voices should (not) be excluded?”
  • Based on an actor analysis, the module will highlight the question of ‘power’ and ‘exclusion’, which form the basis of the critique of participatory projects. It will critically investigate the different stages and degrees of participation in projects related to peacebuilding. The module will provide a platform on which students can reflect on the methods and ethics of participation in the context of peacebuilding (in both its practice and research).
  • Empirically, the module is based on case studies of projects in which participation has been used.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have, by the end of the module,
  • • To identify and understand the power relations inherent in participatory approaches to peacebuilding in research and practice
  • • To understand and develop methods through which participation in peacebuilding can be facilitated
  • • To develop a critical awareness of the power relations inherent in participatory approaches.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will, by the end of the module,
  • • To identify and analyse case studies in which participatory approaches have been used
  • • To develop an ability to assess the legitimacy and effectiveness of participatory approaches to peacebuilding
  • • To develop the ability to design participatory approaches through critical reflection
  • • To engage in research projects at MSc level in the subject of peacebuilding.
Key Skills:
  • Students will be able, by the end of the module,
  • • To prepare case studies for both oral and written presentation from different sources of material
  • • 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 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.

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 two full consecutive days, and will involve a mixture of lectures, short presentations, discussion and small group work, as well as oral presentations based on real or constructed cases.
  • Summative assessment will include an article review (pre-workshop) and a funding application to an imaginary donor (post-workshop). Which case study for the essay is selected is in the hands of students, 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 guiding questions for the funding application are based on the themes discussed during the workshop. The article review is designed to provide students with a focused task to prepare them, through self-guided learning, for the workshop’s discussions as well as case study analysis.
  • Assessment is intended to develop students' analytical and academic writing skills. Students will receive continuing formative feedback in seminar and group discussions. They will receive formal formative feedback on their presentations through the group tasks following the presentations.
  • Formative assessment is to prepare a one-page summary of the key aspects students would like to propose in the funding bid (including, for instance, categories such as project context, rationale, relevant literature, project methodology). The students will have the opportunity to work towards this assignment during the course of the module. Feedback on this task will be given in one-to-one sessions during the small-group break-out sessions during the module so the students benefit from the presence of the practitioner who can give useful input as far as the practicalities of their personal proposal are concerned. The module convener will feed forward on the theoretical aspects of the proposal.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop 1 Epiphany term 2 days 15
Preparation and Reading 135
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Review Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Article Review 1000 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Funding application to an imaginary donor 2500 100%

Formative Assessment:

Preparation of a one A4 page summary of key aspects to propose in the funding bid.

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