Power and Conflict

“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace” (Mahatma Gandhi)

“Every period of human development has had its own particular type of human conflict” (Isaac Asimov)

Why choose discovery modules from Power and Conflict?

What do you think when you hear the words ‘power’ and ‘conflict’? Learn how the terms are used in different ways, and how the practice of power and conflict shapes the world we live in. 

The influence of power and the risk of conflict are evident in all forms of human interaction. They influence the choices and actions of people, institutions, governments and organisations. The terms ‘power’ and ‘conflict’ might refer to different practices, phenomena or patterns, depending on if you are studying business, economics, social sciences or the humanities. And these may operate at different scales, from the global to the local, between institutions and individuals. What unites these scholarly approaches is a desire to locate where power is held, understand how it is maintained, and analyse how struggles over power may result in inequalities, injustices, and conflict – or alternatively greater equality, justice seeking and peace building.

Depending on your interest area, you can pick from a wide range of modules from around the University, perhaps finding modules in schools and faculties that surprise you. You can build your knowledge of the Theme in one particular discipline throughout your study, or you can mix and match to understand how different disciplines grapple with similar issues in different ways. 

If you have any questions about this Discovery Theme, you can contact the Theme Leader: Polly Wilding P.Wilding@leeds.ac.uk

Make the most of your discovery modules

Whatever your programme of study, whether based in the arts, sciences, social sciences or humanities, if you want to understand historical conflicts or how states regulate power, if you have an interest in global configurations of wealth, or how society is structured in ways that systematically marginalise social groups, if would like to learn about theories of power, or if you are interested in responses to power, who resists, and how social movements ‘speak truth to power’, we hope there is something here for everyone.

Ultimately, by studying this Theme you will gain a better understanding of privilege and power, and learn about conflict, peace and power struggles.

If you want to branch out into other Themes, ‘Ethics, Religion and Law’ offers modules which cover many of the same subjects from different perspectives. Alternatively, learn about the relationship between conflict and the media by taking modules from the ‘Media, Culture and Creativity’ Theme.

The Sub-themes

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Governmental and Institutional

Learn about the policies and debates that determine the way we live and interact in the world – and the institutions who take decisions for us on crime, health, and education, as well as war, diplomacy and human rights.

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Personal and Inter-personal

Learn about how power and conflict in the home and between individuals is shaped by culture, justice systems, and religious teachings.

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Cultural, Popular Cultural and Performative

Learn about how cultural, popular cultural and performative events, objects and practices can be sites of protest, subversion, and resistance, or regulation, coercion and propaganda.

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Social and Societal Studies

Learn about power from the bottom up, and how the way in which society is structured by gender, race and class creates and restricts possibilities for action, and what pressures different groups can exert on society.

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Theories of Power and Conflict

Learn about how key thinkers have tried to explain how power shapes the world we live in and the relevance and source of conflict through different theoretical approaches.

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