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Archived teaching schedules 2018–2019
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PEACE045 Identity Conflicts in the Arab Worlds 5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period II Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Advanced studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
MP in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research
Peace and Conflict Research
Faculty of Social Sciences

Learning outcomes

After the course, students have acquired basic knowledge on the historical and political sociology of several Arab countries. They are familiar with the roots of the dominant representations on the Arab worlds in our European societies and are therefore able to engage critically with these descriptions as well as with notions such as tribalism, ethnicity and sectarianism. They understand better the dynamics of conflict persisting in today?s Middle East. Finally, they have been presented with and have used themselves analytical approaches to take in for questioning empirical events, a skill transferable to other areas of social sciences and beyond.

General description

The aim of this course is to provide the students with analytical tools to tackle the issue of primary bonds and their impact on conflicts in the Arab worlds. Primary bonds can be defined through various concepts, all related to primordial identities, such as ethnicity, tribalism or sectarianism. From Lebanon yesterday to Iraq and Syria today, primary bonds are most often presented as the cause of conflicts in the Middle East region. This insistence on identities generates a dilemma for the researcher. How to understand local conflicts in their specificities without giving ground to essentialist theories? Is the mobilization of identity categories by the actors themselves to describe their motivations enough to qualify a conflict as an identity conflict? In practice, this dilemma can be summarized by a tension between over-theorization (the use of models unable to grasp the complexity of local situations) and under-theorization (the mere observation of the situations without critical analysis). This course proposes some avenues for tackling this dilemma and shedding a critical light on contemporary conflicts in the Arab worlds.

Enrolment for University Studies

Enrolment time has expired


Bruno Lefort, Teacher responsible


7-Jan-2019 – 12-Mar-2019
Lectures 24 hours
Mon 7-Jan-2019 - 11-Mar-2019 weekly at 10-12, Linna 6017
Tue 5-Mar-2019 - 12-Mar-2019 weekly at 10-12, Linna 6017


Numeric 1-5.

Further information

Students will be accepted to the course in the following order:

1. degree students of the MDP in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research

2. degree students of the other Global Society programmes (MDP in Global and Transnational Sociology, MDP in Public Choice, MDP in Comparative Social Policy and Welfare, MDP in Gender Studies)

3. other degree students of UTA

4. exchange students