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Honoursmodule: Conflict, Negotiation and the Body


dr. D.W. Laws and Zeineb Al-Itejawi

Entry requirements 

Second and Third year bachelor students participating in an honours programme.

Recommended prior knowledge


Learning Objectives

At the end of the course the student can:

  • Apply themes like strategic action, rationality, ethics, social psychology, decision analysis, organisational behaviour, (neuro)biology and evolutionary biology to the study of conflict and of efforts to cope with conflict.
  • Employ these concepts diagnostically to make sense of empirical cases.
  • Recognize and analyse the influence of human (neuro)biological processes on behaviour and thought patterns in conflict and negotiation.
  • Design and assess action strategies in conflict cases from the perspective of a stakeholder and from the perspective of a neutral intervenor.
  • Critically evaluate outcomes and experience.
  • Design and assess action strategies in conflict cases from the perspective of a stakeholder and from the perspective of a neutral intervenor.
  • Critically evaluate outcomes and experience.


The Honours Course Conflict, Negotiation and the Body is an intensive course in a workshop format that introduces students to the analysis of conflict and to negotiation and dialogue as approaches to conflict transformation. The course starts from the observation that the world of public officials, citizens, entrepreneurs, consultants, and other professionals is marked by interdependence, by fragmented sources of power, and by an uncertain future. In this unruly world, the sources of understanding and stability are often provisional and the ability to learn and to manage change is at a premium. The diversity of society contributes to conflicts over goals, interests, and frames of reference. These characteristics create an ongoing need for the ability to craft stable agreements that advance interests, build trust, and construct understanding in complex and unstable environments. They create the need to understand conflict, to organize forums for dialogue, and to purposefully engage in negotiation.

The course combines skill building with the developing of a command of analytic theory in a ‘hands-on’ format. It draws on the interdisciplinary background that has developed in response to the challenge of making sense of how conflicts start, develop, and are sustained in social and political settings and how actors in such settings might inform their designs for action through such structured reflection on empirical experience. This course focuses primarily on social and political (or public) conflict and adds the lens of (neuro)biology to the more conventional social science repertoire.

Negotiation and dialogues and conflict diagnosis and transformation, in this light, are about the management of interdependence. This approach raises a series of questions that cut across the boundary between theory and practice that create a rationale for teaching in a format that is both hands-on and theoretically oriented. The course provides this by helping participants learn about conflict diagnosis and negotiation by developing their skills in role-play exercises and in case-oriented research. Reflection on experience is linked to a systematic body of theory that offers different perspectives on what it means to understand conflict and what it means to act purposefully in a situation of interdependence. This includes theory and findings from social science and from neurobiology, which can help us recognize and monitor how our physical and psychological responses contribute to the incidence of escalation of conflict and the development of cooperation. 

Teaching method

  • Seminar
  • Presentation
  • Work independently on project
  • Guidance and feedback moment
  • Workshop


  • Group case study: includes presentation and executive summary (50%)
  • Individual analytic paper based on group work in the case study. (50%)

Study material:

  • Literature via a course reader
  • Syllabus
  • Cases and simulations (under Practical Material)

Min/max participants

max. 25


The schedule will be available on Datanose 


Registration is possible for 2nd year (or higher) students participating in an Honours programme. The registration for the Honours courses will start on June 1, 10 am -  June 4, 11 pm, You can register through the online registration form that will appear on Honoursmodules IIS (registration is NOT through SIS)

Placement will be at random and students will be informered about their placement in the week of June 21. 

There is NO guarantee for placement if you register AFTER June 4, so make sure you apply on time! 

For questions about registration please email to: 


SDGs in education

The IIS strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in our elective courses, honours modules and degree programmes, and attempts to integrate the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in this course. For more information about these goals, please visit the SDGs website


Facts & Figures
Mode Honours programme
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Conditions for admission
Starts in November