University of Sussex Business School

The Politics of Armed Groups (014IR)

The Politics of Armed Groups: Rebels, State and Society

Module 014IR

Module details for 2019/20.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

This module takes non-state armed groups as an entry point for understanding the dynamics of contemporary violent conflict and ways to address it. Instead of working with grand and often abstract theorisations about ‘wars’ in general, it looks at the main protagonists of violent conflict, the ways they mobilise, organise, fight and govern in situations of protracted armed conflict and fragmented statehood.
Structured in three parts, the module introduces students to (i) theories about the root causes and drivers of contemporary violent conflict; ii) concepts for understanding the politics of non-state armed groups and their multifarious relations to state and society, and iii) a range of policy processes and interventions that aim at ending and transforming violent conflict.
In doing so, the module draws on interdisciplinary debates and case studies from around the world. Importantly, students are encouraged to choose particular armed groups to explore how theories and concepts work out by doing their own empirical research.

Module learning outcomes

Systematically understand different theories of armed mobilisation and the behaviour of armed organisations during war

Devise arguments in relation to armed mobilisation and armed organisations based on in-depth knowledge of the state of the art of the relevant fields

Show appreciation of the difficulties of data collection on armed mobilisation and how this affects scholarly analysis and media reporting

Critically evaluate the assumptions underlying common policy interventions addressing armed organisations during and after war

Applying the acquired analytical skills to extend knowledge of armed mobilisation to concrete empirical cases

Communicate knowledge and analysis of both theories and policies related to armed mobilisation to specialist and non-specialist audience

Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
EssayT1 Week 6 66.67%
Group PresentationT1 Week 11 (10 minutes)33.33%
Essay (3500 words)Semester 1 Assessment Week 1 Thu 16:0070.00%

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
Autumn SemesterSeminar3 hours11111111111

How to read the week pattern

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

Dr David Brenner


Dr Earl Gammon

Assess convenor

Dr Melanie Richter-Montpetit

Assess convenor

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