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IR4601   Political Order and Violence in the Middle East

Academic year(s): 2024-2025

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 1

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: Tuesday 12 noon - 1pm

This module examines the causes and consequences of political order and violence in the Middle East. What constitutes a political order? Why and how are political orders established? What role does violence play in constituting political orders? Why and how does violence ensue with the breakdown of political orders? Drawing on IR, Sociological, and State-formation theories, we will examine different episodes of order and violence in contemporary Middle East politics: from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the latest Arab Uprisings, looking at colonial orders, regime-society violence, violent resistance against occupation, and civil wars.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass IR2006

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 x 1-hour lecture (x 10 weeks), 1 x 1-hour tutorial (x 10 weeks), 2 consultative hours with Coordinator (x 12 weeks). 2 hours examination feedback in week 1 of following semester.

Scheduled learning hours: 20

Guided independent study hours: 280

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 3-hour Written Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr H Lai
Module teaching staff: Dr Hsinyen Lai

Intended learning outcomes

  • Acquire a strong understanding of the concepts and theories of political order and violence;
  • Acquire familiarity with various types of political order and violence in the Middle East;
  • Develop a strong understanding of Middle East politics with special focus on various political regimes and episodes of political violence;
  • Develop a strong ability to analyse the causes and consequences of violence in a comparative manner.
  • Articulate this understanding in oral and written form, through presentations and class discussion as well as coursework essays and examination;
  • Develop their research and analytical skills.