RDS-34306 Conflict, Development and Disaster


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. GE Frerks
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. GE Frerks
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. GE Frerks

Language of instruction:



This course starts with an overview of the fields of conflict, natural hazards, humanitarian aid and reconstruction and some of the major theoretical and policy trends that link them. In the remainder of the course, conflict will be the theme around which those trends will be elaborated but students will be invited to reflect upon possible research questions and approaches for the broader field of disaster studies. In this course contemporary conflicts will be linked to issues of (under)development. It is argued that a lack of development or lop-sided, uneven patterns of political and economic development give rise to societal tensions and may finally lead to violent conflict. Pertinent issues discussed include the greed versus grievance debate, the role of discourse in conflict and peace, and the notion of human security. It is also discussed how properly designed development interventions may help to prevent, mitigate or resolve such conflicts. The course will introduce methodological and conceptual approaches to grasp the nexus between development, conflict and disaster. The emergence of an integrated paradigm encompassing development, human security and diplomacy, partly in response to perceived terrorist threats will be reviewed.
Students will have to grasp the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the issues discussed and are required to demonstrate in their essay that they can formulate topical and feasible research questions that properly operationalise theoretical and policy concerns relating to conflict, development and disaster.

Learning outcomes:

After completion of this course the student should:
- have a broad overview of the major thesis trajectories provided by Disaster Studies in the fields of conflict, natural hazards, humanitarian aid and reconstruction;
- be familiar with existing conflict theories, concepts and typologies;
- be cognisant with the major explanatory approaches to conflict;
- be able to point out the multifaceted relationships between conflict and development;
- be able to identify the prevailing policies and management approaches at local, national and international levels, both governmental and non-governmental;
- be able to identify research puzzles and methodological approaches for further study into conflict, development and disaster.


Students are expected to attend the lectures, to read the literature in preparation of the sessions, and to actively engage in the discussion.


Essay assignment and written exam.


A course guide is available at the secretariat of Disaster Studies. The literature will be made available in the form of a reader obtainable at the commencement of the course.

Restricted Optional for: MIDInternational Development StudiesMScA: Sociology of Development5AF