University of Sussex

School of Social Sciences

Social Science of Conflict

First Year School Course

Autumn  Term 2000

Course convenor and tutor: Professor Martin Shaw

Room E504 (office hours to be advised)/tel. 678032/

Secretary: Shirley Stay/E407/678992/

Course summary / Course information and requirements


Course NEWS

During the course, any new information will be posted here.

Course summary

Week 1: Introductory meeting

Part I: Sociology of conflict

Week 2 

Cooperation and conflict

Week 3 

Socialization and class struggle

Week 4 

Institutionalization of conflict

Part II:  Political and international theories of conflict

Week 5 


Week 6 


Week 7 

International relations: the anarchical society?

Part III: Conflict and cooperation in globality

Week 8 


Week 9 

New wars

Week 10

Globalization and fragmentation

If you are working with a hard copy of this list, online references will be underlined. To access these, you will need to use the online version at the course website where Course NEWS will be available.

.The Library's version, with classmarks, will be at

Course information and requirements


This course will offer an interdisciplinary study of conflict, based in social theory. The course aims to 


The objectives of the course are to

Teaching and learning

The course will be taught in 2-hour weekly seminars. In the first half of each session, all members of the group will discuss the key theory reading for the week, which will be a short work or extract by a theoretical writer on conflict. 

In the second half of each session, there will be a discussion of a particular conflict, introduced by a student presentation. A member of the group, or two members working in consultation, will read several works relating to the topic and give a general introduction to the discussion lasting about 15 minutes. Every member of the group will read, at the minimum, the key reading for the second part of each session.

Written work

Each student will be expected to submit 2 x 2000 word essays, the first by the seminar in week 5, the second by the seminar in week 8.  All work should be word-processed. No essays will be accepted after the deadlines except by prior arrangement. In normal circumstances I will mark and return essays within 2 weeks of submission.

Books and readings

There are no textbooks for this course. Reading is listed below under the seminar topics. The theoretical text and the empirical/historical text are the minimum readings that everyone is expected to do each week. The fuller lists are provided to help you prepare seminar presentations and  write essays. You should also use your own initiative and find books, articles and topical materials that are relevant to the themes of the course.

Some items are available on the web, as well as or instead of in the library. You may want to print these off - it's cheaper than photocopying. Please note that, especially on topical questions, social science materials are increasingly to be found online and it is important that you learn to use the Internet to find information and analysis. I will give some advice about this in the first session.

In case of any items being unavailable in the Library, look for substitutes or consult me - in some cases I may be able to lend you the relevant book or article.

SPECIAL NOTE for Autumn 2000. I have taken over this course in the current session, but during Summer 2000 I have been laid up with a broken leg and so unable to check all the books for precise chapter and section references. Further guidance on this will be given at the beginning of the course.


This course is assessed by a course report, based on attendance, seminar participation and written work during the course.


I am keen to hear your evaluations of this course and my teaching. Please raise difficulties as they arise. Standard evaluation questionnaires will be distributed in the penultimate week of term, on which you will be asked to make your comments. The final seminar will include a discussion of the course.

Office hours

My office is in room E504. Hours to be advised.


I am always willing, like all members of faculty, to write references for every student on my courses. Please let me know if you would like to give my name as a referee. Supply me with any background information that might be useful in writing a reference, and keep me updated on your progress if you wish to use my name in future.

Part I: Sociology of Conflict

Week 1


In this session we will introduce ourselves and discuss the purpose and operation of this course. 

We will also plan contributions for the remaining seminars.


Cooperation and conflict

Does it make sense to see society as either essentially harmonious and cooperative, or essentially conflict-ridden?

What are the relationships between cooperation and conflict?

Theoretical text

David Lockwood, Solidarity and schism : the "problem of disorder", in Durkheimian and Marxist sociology, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992

Supplementary readings

Lewis Coser, The Functions of Social Conflict, London: Routledge, 1956

Talcott Parsons, The Social System, Glencoe: Free Press 1951, and David Lockwood's review in British Journal of Sociology 1956

Robert Axelrod,  The complexity of cooperation: agent-based models of competition and collaboration, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1997

Gordon Marshall, A Swift and S Roberts, Against the odds?: social class and social justice in industrial societies, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997


Socialization and class struggle

Were Marx and Engels conflict theorists? What did they mean by 'socialization' and how did they see this as related to 'class struggle'?

Theoretical text

Friedrich Engels, On Authority

Empirical/historical text

Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844

Supplementary readings

Karl Marx, Wage-Labor and Capital 1849 and Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy 1857

Karl Korsch, Karl Marx, New York: Russell and Russell 1963

Anthony Giddens, Capitalism and modern social theory, London: Cambridge UP 1971

E.P. Thompson, Making of the English Working Class, London: Gollancz 1965


Institutionalization of conflict

Was Dahrendorf correct to argue that conflict has been institutionalized in Western societies? 

How far can changes in conflict be explained by changes in class structure, such as 'embourgeoisement'?

Theoretical text

Ralf Dahrendorf, Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1959

Empirical/historical text

Huw Beynon, Working for Ford, 2nd edition, Penguin, Harmondsworth 1984

Supplementary readings

T Nichols & H Beynon, Living with Capitalism: class relations and the modern factory, London: Routledge 1977

David Lockwood, The blackcoated worker: a study in class consciousness, 2nd edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1989 

John H Goldthorpe, The Affluent Worker: Industrial Attitudes and Behaviour; The Affluent Worker : Political Attitudes and Behaviour; The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure, Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. 1968-69

Part II: Political and international theories of conflict



What did Clausewitz see as the essence of war? How far did the experience of World War I bear him out? 

Theoretical text

Karl von Clausewitz, On War, or Michael Howard, Clausewitz, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1981

Empirical/historical text

Tony Ashworth, ‘Sociology of Trench Warfare’, British Journal of Sociology, 1968 or Ashworth, The Live and Let System, Macmillan 1981

Supplementary readings

John Hockey, Squaddies: Portrait of a Sub-Culture, Exeter University Press 1986

Gloden Dallas, The Unknown Army: Mutinies in the British Army in the World War I, London: Verso 1985

John Keegan, First World War, London: Hutchinson 1998 

Christopher R Browning, Ordinary Men, New York: Harper 1992

Penny Summerfield , ‘Women, War and Social Change: Women in Britain in World War II’ in Arthur Marwick, ed, Total War and Social Change, Macmillan 1988, 95-118



What are the relationships between the social, political and violent aspects of the revolutionary process? 

What are the relationships between social and international causes of revolutions?

Theoretical text

Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1979, Chapter 1

Empirical/historical text

Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, Gollancz 1934

Supplementary readings

Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1979, Chapters on Russia

Leopold Haimson & Charles Tilly, eds., Strikers, Wars and Revolutions in International Perspective, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1989

Marc Ferro, The Russian Revolution of February 1917, London: Routledge 1972


International relations: an anarchical society?

What are the relations between anarchy and conflict, consensus and cooperation, in international politics? 

Discuss with relationship to the Cold War.

Theoretical text

Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society, London: Macmillan 1977

Empirical/historical text

Ian Clark, Globalization and Fragmentation, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997, Chapter on Cold War

Supplementary readings

Booth, K. (1991) 'Security in anarchy: utopian realism in theory and practice', International Affairs 67(3): 527-546.

Martin Shaw, 'Global society and global responsibility: the theoretical, analytical and practical limits of international society', Chapter 5 of Global Society and International Relations, Cambridge: Polity 1994; also available in Millenium: Journal of International Studies, 21, 3, Winter, pp 421-34

Rick Fawns and Jeremy Larkins, eds., International Society After the Cold War: Anarchy and Order Reconsidered, London: Macmillan 1996.

Harriet Friedman, 'Warsaw Pact socialism: detente and the disintegration of the Soviet bloc' in A. Hunter (ed.) Rethinking the Cold War. Philadelphia: Temple University Press 1998, pp 213-232

Part III: Cooperation and conflict in globality



Is genocide a form of conflict? Examine the international definitions in the light of the reality of Rwanda

Theoretical text

Adam Kuper, Genocide, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1981, Chapter 1

Empirical/historical text

Martin Shaw, From the Rwandan genocide to the Congo war and The Cambodian genocide 1977-89

Supplementary readings

Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, Cambridge: Polity 1991

Eric Markusen and David Kopf, The Holocaust and Strategic Bombing: Genocide and Total War in the Twentieth Century, Boulder: Westview 1995

Rayika Omaar and Alex de Waal, Rwanda: Death, Despair and Defiance, Africa Rights 1994

René Lemarchand, Patterns of state collapse and reconstructions in Central Africa: reflections on the crisis in the Great Lakes African Studies Quarterly 1, 1

Ben Kiernan, The Pol Pot regime: race, power and genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79, New Haven: Yale UP 1996


New wars

In what ways and how much are new wars 'new'? Examine the case of Bosnia  

Theoretical text

Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era, Cambridge: Polity 1999, Chapter 1, or Introduction to Kaldor and Basker Vashee, eds, New Wars, London: Pinter 1998, 1-10

Empirical/historical text

Jan Willem Honig and Norbert Both, Srebrenica: Record of a War Crime, London: Penguin

Supplementary readings

Kaldor, New and Old Wars, Chapter 3 on Yugoslavia

Martin Shaw, 'The contemporary mode of warfare? Mary Kaldor's theory of new wars', Review of International Political Economy, 7, 1, 2000, 171-80 ; 'War and globality: the role and character of war in the global transition', in Ho-won Jeong, ed, The New Agenda for Peace Research, Ashgate 1999

Stathis Kalyvas, '"New" and "old" civil wars: is the distinction valid?', paper to the colloquium, 'La guerre entre le local et le global', Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales, Paris, 2000. (I shall try to make either an online or photo-copy available.)

David Rieff, Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1995

Ed Vulliamy, ‘Bosnia: the crime of appeasement’, International Affairs, 74, 1, 1998, 73-92 (also Seasons in Hell, London: Simon & Schuster, 1994, 98-117)

United Nations, Report on Srebrenica


Conclusions: globalization and fragmentation

Does globalization involve a new phase of cooperation, and/or of conflict, in world society?

Theoretical text

Martin Shaw, 'Global Society', Chapter 1 of Global Society and International Relations, Cambridge: Polity 1994

Empirical/historical text

Ian Clark, Globalization and Fragmentation, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997

Supplementary readings

David Held and Anthony McGrew, 'The End of the Old Order? Globalization and the Prospects for World Order', Review of International Studies, 24 (Special Issue), 1998, 219-44

Jan Aart Scholte, 'Globalisation: Prospects for a Paradigm Shift' in Martin Shaw, ed., Politics and Globalisation, London: Routledge 1999 or Scholte, Globalization: A Critical Introduction, London: Macmillan 2000

John Baylis and Steve Smith, eds., The Globalization of World Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997

Timothy Dunne and Nicholas J. Wheeler, eds., Human Rights in Global Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1999

Paul Q. Hirst and Grahame Thompson, Globalization in Question, Cambridge: Polity 1996

Jacques Derrida,  reply to a question about globalization from M. Shaw, at an open meeting at Sussex University, 1997