Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Reduced inequalities Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to: • identify and critically analyze the major research traditions and theories in the study of collective violence; • distinguish the major forms of collective violence, identifying the causes and dynamics; • link theory with empirical analysis on the subject of collective violence.

Course contents

The course examines different types of collective violence, including violence occurring in civil wars, instances of state repression, mafia and gang violence. The course is divided in three sections. The first section explores classic types of “political violence” (such as civil wars, revolutions and terrorism) looking at their origins and dynamics. The second section deals with violence perpetrated by states (such as repressions and genocides) and violence that occurs within states that does not challenge their existence or regime (such as that perpetrated by organized crime and gangs). The third section looks at the organizations that “produce” violence, and namely at insurgent and mafia groups, discussing their emergence, their internal functioning, their relations with violence, and their demise.


  1. Are we doomed to fight? Human violence and its origins
  2. Civil Wars (1): What, Where, When & Why
  3. Terrorism
  4. Revolutions
  5. State terror
  6. Genocides
  7. State repression
  8. Organized crime and violence
  9. Gang violence
  10. Start-up rebels
  11. Rebel management: Control and resources
  12. Organizing Crime
  13. Rebel violence
  14. Mafia violence
  15. The end of rebellions
  16. The study of conflict


Students who regularly attend classes:

The full list of readings will be circulated on the first day of class and posted on the class website on “Insegnamenti Online”at iol.unibo.it


Students who do not regularly attend classes:

  • Cederman, L. E., Gleditsch, K. S., & Buhaug, H. (2013). Inequality, grievances, and civil war. Cambridge University Press
  • Catino, M. (2019). Mafia Organizations. The visible hand of criminal enterprise. Cambridge University Press
  • Mampilly, Z. C. (2012). Rebel rulers: Insurgent governance and civilian life during war. Cornell University Press

Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars, class presentations

Assessment methods

Students who regularly attend classes:

  • 1 take-home exam (total: 40% of the grade)
    • Assigned: end of class 8; Due: before class 9
  • final written exam (90 mins - 60% of the grade): 2 questions

Students who do not regularly attend classes:

  • written final (3 essay questions)

Office hours

See the website of Francesco Niccolò Moro