The Politics of Armed Groups: Rebels, State and Society (014IR)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

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 you to:

  • theories about the root causes and drivers of contemporary violent conflict
  • concepts for understanding the politics of non-state armed groups and their multifarious relations to state and society
  • 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, you are encouraged to choose particular armed groups to explore how theories and concepts work out by doing your own empirical research. 


100%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Essay, Group presentation)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 30 hours of contact time and about 270 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: