93549 - Peacekeeping, Peacebuilding And Conflict Resolution

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in International Relations (cod. 9084)

Learning outcomes

The course provides students with tools to analyze the practice of conflict resolution, especially as emerged after the end of the Cold War, through a review of key theories, concepts and practices of international interventions aimed at peacekeeping and peacebuilding. At the end of the course, the student will be able to: - Identify and distinguish the different approaches to peacekeeping and interventions - Discuss the empirical aspects of international interventions, identifying strengths and weaknesses of different types of action - Connect different practices of peacekeeping and peacebuilding with changes in the international system and foreign policies

Course contents

As of exchange students: the course is open only to students (Erasmus, Turing, Overseas…) enrolled in Master’s level degrees).

This is a course based both on lectures and students’ participation and active engagement in class discussions and exercises. Its success depends on students being well prepared for each session.

It is divided into 2 main parts. The first section (16 hours) will introduce students to the key theoretical and analytical tools necessary to understand and critically evaluate the practice of conflict management and resolution – including in particular peacekeeping and the post-settlement peacebuilding phase – and its evolution. It will discuss the main peace intervention doctrines and the challenges encountered in their implementation. It will present and discuss the role of the key actors (states, international organizations and non-governmental organizations) in different cases.

The second part of the course (12 hours) will take into consideration some contemporary cases. Students will apply concepts and theoretical tools to the analysis of Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Syria and Ukraine. For this part students are divided into two groups and will attend one of the two weekly lectures (thus, as a whole students will attend a total of 28 hour of classes). Students are required to read the material in advance of the class meetings and be ready to engage with both the instructor and their peers. Attending students will also present and discuss a particular case in class.


PART 1: Lectures

1. Introduction: Conflict and Peace Intervention in the International System (21 February 2024)


P. Williams and Alex Bellamy, “Peace Operations in Global Politics,” & “Who Deploys Peace Operations,” respectively Ch. 1 & ch. 2 in their Understanding Peacekeeping, Polity, 2021, third edition.

Students should acquaint themselves with the UN Department of Peace Operations website (https://peacekeeping.un.org/en/department-of-peace-operations ), in particular the section “What is Peacekeeping?”

2. Peace Intervention “Generations” (22 February 2024)


Williams and Bellamy, “Peace Operations during the 1990s,” and “Peace Operations in the twenty-first Century,” respectively Ch. 4 & Ch. 5 of their Understanding Peacekeeping, Polity, 2021, third edition.


 Richmond, Oliver P. “The Evolution of the International Peace Architecture.” European Journal of International Security 6, no. 4 (2021): 379–400.

3. Evaluating Peace Interventions (28 February 2024)


O. Ramsbotham, T. Woodhouse, H. Miall, “The Statistics of Deadly Quarrels and the Measurement of Peace,” in their Contemporary Conflict Resolution, fourth edition, Polity, 2016.

Pamina Firchow, “Introduction”, in Pamina Firchow, Reclaiming Everyday Peace: Local Voices in Measurement and Evaluation After War. Cambridge University Press, 2018 (pp. 1-26).

J. Soderstrom, M. Akebo, A. Jarstad (2021) “Friends, Fellows and Foes: A New Framework for Studying Relational Peace,” International Studies Review, 23, pp. 484-508.


Pamina Firchow, “Conclusion,” in Reclaiming Everyday Peace: Local Voices in Measurement and Evaluation After War. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

4. Debating Peace Doctrines (29 February 2024)

Keith Krause (2019) “Emancipation and Critique in Peace and Conflict Research,” Journal of Global Security Studies, 4 (2): 292-298.

Wallensteen, Peter, and Isak Svensson (2014) “Talking Peace: International Mediation in Armed Conflicts,” Journal of Peace Research 51 (2): 315–27.

O. Ramsbotham, T. Woodhouse, H. Miall, “Preventing Violent Conflict,” in their Contemporary Conflict Resolution, fourth edition, Polity, 2016.

Edward Luttwak, “Give War a Chance,” Foreign Affairs, June/August 1999, pp. 36-44


Ashtosh Varshney, “Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society: India and Beyond,” World Politics, 53 (3): 362-398.

5. Institutional Reforms for Conflict Management and Resolution (6 March 2024)


John Doyle, “Power-Sharing in Divided Societies,” (Chapter 32) in Oliver P. Richmond, and Gëzim Visoka (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Peacebuilding, Statebuilding, and Peace Formation, Oxford University Press, 2021.

John Nagle, “Consociationalism is Dead! Long Live Zombie Power‐Sharing!” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 2020, 20 (2): 137-144.

Benjamin Reilly (2006) “Centripetalism,” in K. Cordell & S. Wolff, eds., The Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict, 2014, pp. 288-299.


Sørensen, Georg. 2001. ‘War and State-Making: Why Doesn’t It Work in the Third World?’ Security Dialogue 32 (3): 341–54.

6. The Liberal Peace Paradigm (7 March 2024)


Oliver P. Richmond, (2006) “The Problem of Peace: Understanding the ‘Liberal Peace’,” Conflict, Security & Development, 6 (3): 291-314.

Roland Paris (2011) “Saving Liberal Peacebuilding,” Review of International Studies 36(2): 337-365.


Michael Pugh (2004) “Peacekeeping and Critical theory,” International Peacekeeping, 11 (1): 39-58.

Barnett, M., Kim, H., O’Donnell, M., & Sitea, L. (2007). “Peacebuilding: What Is in a Name?”, Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations, 13(1), 35-58.

7. The “Local Turn” in Peace Studies (13 March 2024)


Thania Paffenholz (2015) “Unpacking the Local Turn in Peacebuilding,” Third World Quarterly, 36 (5): 857-874.

Cedric De Coning, “From Peacebuilding to Sustaining Peace: Implications of Complexity for Resilience and Sustainability,” Resilience, 4 (3): 166-181.

Jarstad, A., & Belloni, R. (2012). “Introducing Hybrid Peace Governance: Impact and Prospects of Liberal Peacebuilding,” Global Governance, 18 (1), 1-6.


Roger Mac Ginty & Oliver P Richmond (2013) “The Local Turn in Peace Building: A Critical Agenda for Peace,” Third World Quarterly, 34 (5): 763-783.

8. The Crisis of Peace Interventions (14 March 2024)


D. Lewis, J. Heathershow, N. Megoran, (2018) “Illiberal Peace? Authoritarian Modes of Conflict Management,” Cooperation & Conflict, 53 (4): 486-506.

Thania Paffenholz (2021) “Perpetual Peace: A New Paradigm to Move Beyond the Linearity of Liberal Peacebuilding,” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 15 (3): 367-385.

Roberto Belloni & Francesco N. Moro (2019): Stability and Stability Operations:Definitions, Drivers, Approaches, Ethnopolitics, 18(5): 445-461.


Jonas Rusche, “Imagining Peace Outside of Liberal Statebuilding: Anarchist Theory as Pathway to Emancipatory Peace Facilitation”, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, Vol. 0(0) 1–27, 2022.

David Rampton, Suthaharan Nadarajah, “A Long View of Liberal Peace and Its Crisis,” European Journal of International Relations, 2017, 23 (2): 441-465.

PART 2: Case studies

9. Case study: Afghanistan (20 March group 1 & 21 March group 2)


Toby Doge, (2021) “Afghanistan the Failure of Liberal Peacebuilding,” Survival, 63 (5): 47-58.

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, (2022) “The Collapse of Afghanistan,” Journal of Democracy, 33 (1): 40-54.

Phil Williams, (2022) “US intervention in Afghanistan and the Failure of Governance [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09592318.2022.2120299],” Small Wars & Insurgencies, 33 (7): 1130-1151.

Mats Berdal, (2019) “NATO’s Landscape of the Mind: Stabilisation and Statebuilding in Afghanistan,” Ethnopolitics, 18 (5): 526-543.

10. Case study: Iraq (3 April group 1 & 4 April group 2)


Jacqueline Parry and Birte Vogel (2023) “An Illusion of Empowerment? A Twenty-Year Review of United Nations Reports on Localization in Iraq,” International Peacekeeping, 30 (5): 211-241.

John McGarry and Brandon O’Leary (2007) “Iraq’s Constitution of 2005: Liberal Consociation as Political Prescription,” International Journal of Constitutional Law, 5 (4): 670-698.

Toby Dodge, (2013) “Intervention and Dreams of Exogenous Statebuilding: The Application of Liberal Peacebuilding in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Review of International Studies, 39, 1189-1212.

Roberto Belloni and Irene Costantini (2019) “From Liberal Statebuilding to Counter-insurgency and Stabilisation: The International Intervention in Iraq,” Ethnopolitics, 18 (5): 509-525.

11. Case study: Bosnia-Herzegovina (10 April group 1 and 11 April group 2)


Richard Caplan (2000) “Assessing the Dayton Accord: The Structural Weaknesses of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Diplomacy & Statecraft, 11 (2): 213-232.

Mirjana Kasapovic (2016) “Lijphart and Horowitz in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Institutional Design for Conflict Resolution or Conflict Reproduction?” Croatian Political Science Review, 53 (4): 174-190.

David Chandler, (2010) “The EU and Southeastern Europe: The Rise of Post-Liberal Governance,” Third World Quarterly, 31 (1): 69-85.

Valery Perry, (2019) “Frozen, Stalled, Stuck, or Just Muddling Through: the Post-Dayton Frozen Conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Asia Europe Journal, 17, 107-127.

12. Case study: Northern Ireland (17 April group 1 & 18 April group 2)


Conor Kelly and Etain Tannam (2023) “The Future of Northern Ireland: the Role of Belfast/Good Friday Agreement Institutions,” The Political Quarterly, 94 (1): 85-94.

John McGarry and Brandan O’Leary (2006) “Consociational Theory, Northern Ireland’s Conflict, and its Agreement 2. What Critics of Consociation can Learn from Northern Ireland,” Government and Opposition, 41 (2): 249-277.

John Nagle (2018) “Between Conflict and Peace: An Analysis of the Complex Consequences of the Good Friday Agreement,” Parliamentary Affairs, 71, 395-416.

Cathy Gormley-Heenan and Arthur Aughey (2017) “Northern Ireland and Brexit: Three Effects on the ‘Border in the Mind,” British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 19 (3): 497-511.

13. Case study: Syria (24 April group 1 & 2 May group 2)


 Artur Malantowicz (2013) “Civil War in Syria and the New Wars Debate,” Amsterdam Law Forum, 5 (3): 52-60.

Christopher Phillis (2015) “Sectarianism and Conflict in Syria,” Third World Quarterly, 36 (2): 357-376.

Samer Abboud (2021), “Making Peace to Sustain War: the Astana Process and Syria’s Illiberal Peace,” Peacebuilding, 9 (3): 326-343.

Irene Costantini and Ruth Hanau Santini (2022) “Power Mediators and the Illiberal Peace Momentum: Ending Wars and Libya and Syria,” Third World Quarterly, 43 (1): 131-147.


Alex Bellamy (2022) Syria Betrayed: Atrocities, War and the Failure of International Diplomacy. New York: Columbia University Press.

14. Case study: Ukraine (8 May group 1 & 9 May group 2)


Taras Kuzio (2015) “The Origins of Peace, Non-violence and Conflict in Ukraine,” E-International Relations, https://www.e-ir.info/2015/04/01/the-origins-of-peace-non-violence-and-conflict-in-ukraine/

Roy Allison (2014) “Russian ‘Deniable’ Intervention in Ukraine: How and Why Russia Broke the Rules,” International Affairs, 90 (6): 1255-1297.

Kristian Atland (2020) “Destined for Deadlock? Russia, Ukraine and the Unfulfilled Minsk Agreement,” Post-Soviet Affairs, 36 (2): 122-139.

Lilia Shevtsova (2020) “Russia’s Ukraine Obsession,” Journal of Democracy, 31 (1): 138-147.


Teaching methods

Classes will mix traditional lectures, group discussions on assigned readings, and presentations and debates on case studies.

Assessment methods

The assessment method will be different for students regularly attending classes and for students who will not attend.

Students who do regularly attend classes (at least 5 out of 6 class meetings of the second part of class on case studies):

Mid-term take-home exam: 40% of the final grade

Participation in class and presentation: 20% of the final grade

Essay on a topic drawn from the second part the course: details will be agreed with the professor in class: 40% of the final grade.

Students who do not regularly attend classes will be assessed through one written exam along the “take-home” modality:

  • Four open questions (two for the first section and two for the second part of the course).

Criteria for evaluation:

1. Ability to elaborate synthesis of the topics

2. Ability to discuss and assess major approaches to war prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

3. Ability to provide in depth-analysis of case-studies

4. Proficiency in writing in academic English language

Procedural STEPS:

1. Enroll to Alma Esami.

2. You will receive an invitation by Microsoft Teams to participate to the exam on the related date.

3. On the exam date, the Professor will provide you and explain the Exam: text, questions and rules of delivery. Time for Q&A. You will be able to access the webpage of EOL (Esami On Line).

4. You will submit your Written Essay to the Professor 96 hours later through the online platform EOL (esami-on-line) of Unibo.

5. In order to control the originality of your work, every essay will be checked against any form of plagiarism by the softwares of the University of Bologna. The full bibliography (books and readings) of the course are included.

6. Results will be published within the next 15 days by EOL. You will have 7 days to accept or refuse the result. Afterwards, results will be registered. Only and exclusively, those who refuse their results must write an email to the professor before 7 days.


Teaching tools

The course will make use of ppt and audio-visuals whenever necessary. 

Office hours

See the website of Roberto Belloni