State, Power and Conflict


Course Objective

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding – The student has acquired knowledge and
understanding of:

(1) the different approaches to the concept of power and is able to
apply these to the analysis of (contemporary) political issues;
(2) what ‘states’ are and how the modern state and the modern states
system came into being;
(3) key approaches in political science and an overview of the
discipline and major sub-disciplines;
(4) the main developments in the history of world politics from the
Peace of Westphalia to the Iraq War and the current era of globalization
and the power shift to Asia;
(5) the main patterns of cooperation and conflict between states as well
as between non-state actors and be able to understand some of these
patterns by the application of key political science concepts and some
key approaches within the sub-discipline of International Relations.

Course Content

The course, which offers a broad introduction to the major concepts of
and main approaches in political science, consists of two main parts.
After a critical overview of different concepts of power, the concept of
the state and contending perspectives on the conflict and cooperation
within modern political systems, the course introduces students to
contemporary world politics through an overview of international
political history from the 17th century to the present. Here we seek to
understand history by identifying recurrent patterns of cooperation and
conflict not just between states but also involving non-state actors,
and by applying some of the concepts and approaches dealt with in the
first part of the course. The course will end with a discussion of
contemporary issues within the context of a globalized world politics,
such as the ongoing War on Terror, the communications revolutions and
its impact upon power.

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

Written examination.


Nye, J. & D.Welch, Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation:
An Introduction. Latest International Edition. Pearson.

Additional literature to be announced in the course manual (see CANVAS).

Target Audience

1st year bachelor students in Political Science.
The course is also open as an elective course for VU-students and
Exchange Students.

General Information

Course Code S_SPC
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator prof. dr. E.B. van Apeldoorn
Examiner prof. dr. E.B. van Apeldoorn
Teaching Staff prof. dr. E.B. van Apeldoorn
prof. dr. C.E. de Vries

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: