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INT6090 Understanding Global Violence: Contemporary Trends and Theories (10 sp)

Every year in excess of half a million people die as a result of armed violence and many more suffer its consequences. In this module we examine the issues surrounding armed violence.


About the Course:

We distinguish between different types of armed violence, examine the scale of the problem and consider how armed violence affects different regions and different groups.

We examine some of the principle theories that consider the motivations of those who commit acts of violence, including theories that lay an emphasis on, inter alia, gender, age, criminality, urbanity, and economic factors such as inequality, poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment.

The course will examine the various policy options advocated in armed violence reduction strategies at all levels, from the local through to the international.

Along with developing a thorough understanding of the complexities associated with armed violence, students are expected to conduct original research on methodological factors associated with measuring the scale of the problem, writing skills associated with developing a policy brief in a given area of armed violence research, and advocacy skills that place an emphasis on critically appraising policy options with a view to implementing effective armed reduction strategies. 

After completing this course, the student is expected to have acquired the following learning outcomes:


  • have a clear understanding of the various forms of armed violence
  • understand the scale of the problem in all its forms
  • have an appreciation of the ethical and moral issues associated with the problem of armed violence
  • distinguish how it impacts different people and groups depending on – inter alia – location, age, gender, class
  • develop a thorough understanding of the various theoretical approaches that explain armed violence in its various forms
  • have a good understanding of the policy options associated with armed reduction strategies


  • have a clear understanding of the methodological challenges associated with measurement of armed violence, particularly lethal violence
  • display a thorough understanding of the challenges associated with ensuring that armed violence strategies are effective


  • discuss whether a new definition of armed conflict is needed
  • use relevant statistics on global armed violence
  • gain knowledge about the global state of violence


  • policy brief/short essay; memo 800 words (pass/fail) 


  • take home exam (individual essay); memo: 2000 words (+/- 10 % excluding front page and reference list) (60 % of the grade, grading system A – F) 
  • 3 hour written exam (40 % of the grade, grading system A – F)