HUMN 3084 Theories of Conflict and Violence

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 100969

Coordinator Mark G. E. Kelly Opens in new window

Description Why do humans kill? What is the nature of war? This course is a selection of different established theories offering explanations of human violence and social conflict. Both theories of individual violence and aggression, and collective conflict are studied to give students a perspective on the forces behind these phenomena. Theories from politics, philosophy, psychoanalysis, sociobiology, sociology, and cultural studies are introduced to exemplify the classic positions and lines of reasoning. These are used to question and explain current forms of violence and conflict, and to give students better understanding of the issues behind attempts to forestall, manage or end conflict.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Studies In Human Society

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Equivalent Subjects LGYA 0295 - Theories of Violence and Conflict


Successful completion of 60 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Explain the accepted causes and origins of human violence - individual and collective.
  2. Analyse the traditions and forces at work in different particular instances of human violence.
  3. Describe the typical forms of argument used in explaining or justifying conflict.
  4. Evaluate the reasoning in such explanations and justifications.
  5. Examine ethical issues in human conflict and violence.

Subject Content

- introduction to evolutionary theories - role of inter and intra species struggles.
- Origins and development of social Darwinism and socio-biology
- Recent sociobiology and new field of evolutionary Psychology and critiques
- Basic Psychoanalytic accounts of human aggression and violence/ violence and sexuality
- Classic theories of War: Sun Tzu and Von Clausewitz
- Ethical Issues of War and its justification
- The state and violence - Classic statements and modern amendments from Machiavelli, Hobbes, Kant to Weber, Benjamin, Foucault
- Conflict views of modern society - Marx, Sorel and class
- Spectacles of violence in contemporary culture
- Categories of violence: naming and representing
- contemporary Issues of Conflict and violence


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Presentation 10-12 minutes presentation plus a summary of 500 words 20 N Individual
Essay 1,200 words 30 N Individual
Essay 2,000 words plus references 50 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

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