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Peace operations and peacebuilding


Admission requirements

Students admitted to the MA International Relations.


The end of the Cold War prompted an unprecedented rise in the number of international peace operations. Unlike previous deployments, these new operations were no longer limited to monitoring ceasefires between states. Instead, contemporary peace operations combine elements of peace enforcement with far-reaching mandates to re-build societies emerging from violent conflict. At the UN, regional organizations, and among a host of state and non-state actors, this transformation has triggered a series of reforms to adapt the conceptual and institutional framework for peace operations in line with changing objectives, conflict trends, and global alliances. While the success rate of international peace operations has always been mixed, recent events such as the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the re-emergence of open great power rivalry pose serious challenges for the future of international peace support.
In this course, we examine the varied logics, instruments, and actors that are involved in international peace operations. We first engage with classical approaches to peace support/conflict management, interrogate their underlying logics, and explore their application in the law and practice of international and regional organizations. In the second part, we trace the transformation of peace operations based on select case studies that reflect the diverse mandates and purposes of such deployments. The case studies allow us to identify conditions of success and failure alongside common challenges and alternative approaches (e.g. Unarmed Civilian Protection, South-South cooperation). This part of the course also involves an optional excursion to meet actors in alternative dispute settlement. In conclusion, we review key debates relating to sovereignty, legitimacy, and local agency, and discuss the future of peace operations in a multipolar world.

Course objectives

On completion of this course, students should be able to

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the emergence and transformation of peace operations and peacebuilding.

  • Employ available typologies and theoretical frameworks for discussing the performance and legitimacy of peace operations in one of four thematic panel discussions.

  • Gather, organize, and persuasively present knowledge on one case study of international peace support.

  • Analyse the scope of action and conundrums of international peace support in relation to changes in international order.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  • 20% Participation

  • 20 % Statement to be prepared for one thematic panel discussion

  • 20% Group presentation (case study)

  • 40% Final essay (conceptual)


  • 20% Participation

  • 20 % Statement to be prepared for one thematic panel discussion

  • 20% Group presentation (case study)

  • 40% Final essay (conceptual)


Re-sits are offered only on the research essay, if it is found to be insufficient.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Akpınar, P, 2016, ‘The Limits of Mediation in the Arab Spring: The Case of Syria. Third World Quarterly 37(12), 2288-2303.
Autesserre, S, 2014, Peaceland. Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bah, Abu B, 2013. ‘Civil Non-State Actors in Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding in West Africa’ Journal of International Peacekeeping 17(3-4), 313-336.
Bellamy, A J. and P D. Williams, 2021, Understanding Peacekeeping (3rd ed.), Cambridge: Polity.
Call, C T. and E Cousens, 2008, ‘Ending Wars and Building Peace. International Responses to War-torn Societies.’ International Studies Perspectives, 9(1): 1-21
Chandler, D, 2000. Bosnia. Faking Democracy after Dayton. London: Pluto Press (2nd edition).
Chesterman, S, 2004, You, the People. The United Nations, Transitional Administration and State-building. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cooper, N, M Turner, and M Pugh, 2011, ‘The End of History and the Last Liberal Peacebuilder: A Reply to Roland Paris’. Review of International Studies, 37: 1995-2007.
Diehl, P F and D Druckman, 2010, Evaluating Peace Operations. Boulder CO: Lynne Rienner.
Galtung, J, 1976, ‘Three Approaches to Peace. Peacekeeping, Peacemaking and Peacebuilding’, in Galtung, Peace, War, and Defence. Essays in Peace Research, vol. 2. Copenhagen: Christian Ejlers: 282-304.
Goetze, C, 2017, The Distinction of Peace. A Social Analysis of Peacebuilding. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Hatto, R, 2014. ‘From Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding. The Evolution of the Role of the United Nations in Peace Operations.’ International Review of the Red Cross 95(891/892), 495-515.
Julian, R, 2020, ‘The Transformative Impact of Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping.’ Global Society 34(1), 99-111.
Kittikhoun, A and T G. Weiss, 2012, ‘Imperfect but Indispensable. The United Nations and Global Conflict Management’. In Wolff and Yakinthou, Conflict Management in Divided Societies, London: Routledge: 116-134.
Körppen, D, N Ropers and H J. Giessmann (eds.), 2011, The Non-Linearity of Peace Processes. Theory and Practice of Systemic Conflict Transformation. Berlin: Budrich.
Koops, J, N MacQueen, T Tardy, and P D. Willliams (eds.), 2015, The Oxford Handbook of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Krasner, S, 2004, ‘Sharing Sovereignty. New Institutions for Collapsed and Failing States.’ International Security, 29(2): 85-120.
Lederach, J P, 1997, Building Peace. Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington DC: US Institute of Peace Press.
Lemay-Hébert, N, 2011, ‘The “Empty-Shell” Approach. The Set-up Process of International Administrations in Kosovo and Timor-Leste, Its Consequences and Lessons. International Studies Perspectives, 12(2): 190-211.
Lemay-Hébert, N (ed.), 2019, Handbook on Intervention and Statebuilding. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Leonardsson, H and G Rudd, 2015, ‘The ‘Local Turn’ in Peacebuilding: A Literature Review of Effective and Emancipatory Local Peacebuilding. Third World Quarterly 36(5), 825-839.
Mac Ginty, R, 2012, ‘Routine Peace. Technocracy and Peacebuilding.’ Cooperation and Conflict 47 (3), 287-308.
Obamamoyem, B. F., 2023, ‘Beyond Neo-imperialist Intentionality: Explaining African Agency in Liberal Peace Interventions.’ Third World Quarterly (online first).
Paddon, E, 2014, ‘Partnering for Peace. Implications and Dilemmas.’ International Peacekeeping, 18(5): 516-533.
Ramcharan, B G., 2008, Preventive Diplomacy at the UN. Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press.
Ramsbotham, O, T Woodhouse, and H Miall, 2016, Contemporary Conflict Resolution, 4th ed., Cambridge: Polity.
Richmond, O and G Visoka (eds.), 2021, The Oxford Handbook of Peacebuilding, Statebuilding, and Peace Formation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sabaratnam, M, 2017, Decolonising Intervention: International Statebuilding in Mozambique. London: Rowman & Littlefield.
Schouten, P, Miklian, J., 2020, ‘The Business–Peace Nexus: ‘Business for Peace’ and the Reconfiguration of the Public/Private Divide in Global Governance. Journal of International Relations and Development 23, 414–435.
Selby, J, 2013, ‘The Myth of Liberal Peacebuilding.’* Conflict, Security and Development*, 13 (1): 57-86.
Shea, N, 2016, ‘Nongovernment Organisations as Mediators: Making Peace in Aceh, Indonesia.’ Global Change, Peace & Security 28(2), 177-196.
Thakur, R, 2019, International Peacekeeping in Lebanon: United Nations Authority and Multinational Force. Abingdon: Routledge.
Warnecke, A, 2020, ‘Can Intergovernmental Organizations be Peacebuilders in Intra-State War?’ Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 14(5): 634-653.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


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