School of Global Studies

Anth of Reconciliation & Reconstruction (826L6)

Anthropology of Reconciliation and Reconstruction

Module 826L6

Module details for 2017/18.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 7 (Masters)

Module Outline

In their enthographies, anthropologies have studied 'intra-cultural' conflict resolution practices. As activists, they have contributed to the emergence of generic approaches to conflict resolution. They have, however, raised important questions regarding the contextuality of generic practices and whether they can capture the complexity of local circumstances. The first part of the course will critically assess the relationship between local ('intra-cultural') and generic approaches to conflict resolution (as practiced by INGOs and other third-parties), asking whether the latter can be tempered with a sense of context-specificity. The course will also consider the sociology of mediation and peace negotiations and the power relations and dynamics involved. The second part of the course will be concerned with the desire to 'reconstruct' society in the aftermath of violent conflict. 'Truth acknowledging' exercises (such as Truth Commissions), issues of memory and ways in which a psychologised 'nation' can be 'healed' will be critically assessed. This will be contrasted with arguments in favour of 'retributive' exercises (such as international criminal tribunals and domestic trials).

Session 1 "Traditional" Conflict Resolution
Session 2 Re-traditionalising Conflict Resolution
Session 3 The International "Peacebuilding" Discourse
Session 4 Memory and Narrative in Post-Violence Contexts
Session 5 Memorialisation
Session 6 "Reconciliation" or "Co-existence"?
Session 7 "Truth Commissions"
Session 8 International Criminal Tribunals
Session 9 Case study 1: Post-genocide Rwanda
Session 10 Case Study 2: Post-war Sierra Leone
Session 11 Case Study 3: Post-war Guatemala
Session 12 One-to-one Term Paper Tutorials

Module learning outcomes

Describe the particular contribution that anthropological knowledge makes to understanding conflict resolution and post-conflict interventions.

Assess the relative strengths of anthropological approaches to conflict resolution and post-conflict interventions (with their particular attention to context) in relation to other generic approaches.

Compare and appraise the differences between conflict resolution, conflict transformation and peacebuilding (including the notion of structural violence).

Analyse the role of narrative in the continuation and cessation of violent conflict.

Appraise the relative strengths of post-conflict interventions (trials vs. truth commissions) in relation to 'victim-survivors' of violent conflict.

Essay (5000 words)End of Year Assessment Week 3 Wed 16:00100.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterSeminar3 hours111111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Miss Emilia Roycroft

Assess convenor

Dr Alice Wilson

Convenor, Assess convenor

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