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The Anatomy of Violence


Admission requirements
Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management, enrolled in the specialisation ‘Governance of Violence’ can take this course.

Interpersonal violence can have far-reaching consequences in terms of victimisation and perceptions of security. In this course, we will first focus on definitions of violence, followed by a detailed anatomy of violence: Who offends, who becomes the victim, and in what context? We will explore historical and geographical differences in violence globally. You will become acquainted with the key psychological, sociological and criminological perspectives used in studying violence, and key prevention and intervention measures. By zooming in on specific subtypes of violence, you will gain an advanced understanding of the societal dynamics of violence, and ways in which we can curb such violence.

Anatomy of Violence will further focus on teaching students how to set up, conduct and write a literature review. This skill allows students to reach a comprehensive understanding of the current state of research on Violence, and how to present that knowledge. By critically assessing and reviewing the academic literature, students will better understand the academic debates with respect to Violence.

Course Objectives
After completing the course the student will be able to:
1. Have advanced knowledge and understanding of the body of literature and main theoretical approaches in the field of interpersonal violence.
2. Have advanced knowledge and understanding of societal dynamics of interpersonal violence, at the local, national and international level.
3. Discuss the main challenges and opportunities that relevant stakeholders in the field of interpersonal violence, including local (non) governmental actors and the public, private actors, as well as (inter) national governmental actors are confronted with in a multi-actor and multi-level context.
4. Provide strategic analysis and advice on ‘what works’ in the field of interpersonal violence.
5. Translate evidence-based findings into a strategies for preventing, intervening and curbing interpersonal violence.
6. Present arguments and analyses of an academic project, individually and as a group, both in written (paper) as well as in accessible (infographic) form.
7. Self-evaluate and reflect after interactive in-class work and individual assignments.

On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction
This course will be taught through interactive lectures and guest lectures (2 sessions a week). In the lectures, students will learn the key principles of research, and the relevant concepts and methodologies.

Attendance is mandatory. Students are only allowed to miss more than one lecture if there are special, demonstrable personal circumstances. The Board of Examiners, in consultation with the study advisors, will decide on such an exceptional exemption of mandatory attendance

Total study load: 280h

  • contact hours: 42h

  • self-study (reading, preparing lectures, assignments, etc.): 238h

Assessment method
The learning goals associated with this course (see above) will be assessed through 3 summative assessments and 1 formative assessment.

Individual assignment 1

  • 10% of final grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade must be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50)

Group assignment

  • 30% of final grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade must be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50)

Individual assignment 2

  • 60% of final grade

  • Resit is possible

  • Resit takes the same form

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course

Additional, formative (non-graded) assignments are mandatory.

The calculated overall course grade must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course. If the calculated overall course grade is lower than 5.50, students are also permitted to resit the 60% final paper.

In the case of written assessment methods, the examiner can always initiate a follow-up conversation with the student to establish whether the learning objectives have been met.

Reading list
A selection of books and articles, podcasts and documentaries will be announced on Brightspace.

To be announced by OSC staff.

Contact us at:


  • The corresponding Brightspace course will become available one week prior to the first seminar.

  • Given that this course concerns an introductory and overview course to the phenomenon of interpersonal violence, students are strongly encouraged to enrol in September (rather than in enrolling half-way in February).