Course 2020-2021 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
AFC (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered online

Suggested background knowledge

Some background knowledge on International Relations and/or Comparative Politics could be useful. For those with no knowledge of these fields these to books can help to catch up : 1) CLARK, W. ROBERTS, M. GOLDER S.N. GOLDER, “Principles of comparative politics”, CQ Press, 2017.; 2) FRIEDEN, A. JEFFREY, D.A. LAKE, K.A. SCHULTZ, "World Politics: Interests, Interactions, Institutions “, W. W. Norton & Company (2018).

Mission & Content Summary


Conflict is a central aspect of politics, most likely the constitutive one. Politics aims to mitigate conflict, but conflict is omnipresent and can get violent. Conflict can be displaced, mediated, frozen or postponed. Conflict can escalate, disrupt and destroy lives, properties and institutions. But it can forge, change and introduce norms and institutions. This course aims to study analytically how conflict is intertwined with politics and what are the institutional devices to contain and mitigate conflict. The course analyses how conflict and violence are dealt with in different regimens. Then, the classe discusses different facets of conflict when it escalates to violent practices. We will study riots, rebellions, terrorism and revolutions. We will study also non-violent protest tactics, roots of conflict with societies and political communities and also the long-term legacies of conflict. Alternative theoretical frameworks are discussed and evaluated against systematic empirical evidence. The ultimate goal of the course is to consolidate an analytical approach to the politics of conflict and evaluate its different interlinked facets in a systemic way using also empirical material. This year the course - in parallel with using empirics from different contemporary cases in the world - provides an empirical monographic part: The (un)making of Italy. A series of micro case-studies on specific conflictual events that happened in Italy between the XIX and XXI centuries.


  • When politics is conflictual ? And violent?
  • Is democracy a  non-violent conflict  institutional device? 
  • How do autocracies deal with conflict? Repression, cooptation and concessions.
  • Contentious politics.
  • Revolutions.
  • Inter-state war.
  • Non-violent resistance.
  • Violent Mobilisation.
  • Rebels & Guerrillas.
  • Inequality and Conflict.
  • Rebels Governance: managing conflict within  violent conflict? 
  • Gender and Conflict.
  • Non-violent resistance  in violent contexts.
  • Terrorism.
  • Migrations & Conflict.
  • Demographic & Conflict.
  • Urban and Rural Confilict.
  • Organised crime and  political conflict.
  • Mass Killings and Genocide.
  • Intercommunal violence.
  • Climate, natural resources and conflict.
  • Assassinations /military Coups.
  • Legacies of political conflict.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Discuss main debates and issue on conflict.
  • Recognize how different analytical levels  and actors interplay in ipolitics of conflict.
  • Locate main data sources for the study of conflict.
  • Explain under what conditions conflict and violence are more likely.
  • Assess different empirical expectations. 


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Use the theoretical and empirical insights presented during the course to analyze and explain political conflict and violence.
  • Find and critically assesses data sources for evaluating policies.
  • Analytically evaluate unfolding events in the international arena.

Teaching methods

  • Online lectures


  • Online Lectures.
  • Digital Handouts

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  x x

Teaching materials


No textbooks are required. However, each week will have 2/3 compulsory readings (articles).

Last change 11/12/2020 17:09