Media and Conflict in Divided Societies POLITIC5100

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will examine the role of both legacy and digital media in transforming conflict within divided societies. Students will consider the extent to which peace journalism and increased intergroup contact via online platforms can contribute to peacebuilding in societies such as Cyprus, Northern Ireland, and Palestine.


One lecture and one seminar held weekly for 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Open to postgraduate students only

Excluded Courses





1000-word Blog (20%)

4000-word Report (80%)

Course Aims

The course will examine the role of both legacy and digital media in building peace within divided societies.

Students will explore the following questions:

1: Can peace journalism build support for non-violent solutions to conflict? To what extent does it violate journalistic norms of objectivity?

2. How can information and communication technologies be used to facilitate positive intergroup contact in post-conflict societies?

3. Do more rapid forms of communication inevitably lead to positive peace?

4. Do social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it easier or harder to promote reconciliation between former antagonists?

These will be explored through the exploration of relevant theoretical frameworks (e.g. contact hypothesis, gradual model for intergroup contact) and diverse examples including Cyprus, Northern Ireland, and Palestine.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

1. Evaluate the theoretical perspectives on the role of professional journalists in promoting non-violent solutions to conflict;

2. Analyse the role of legacy media in building support for positive peace in societies transitioning from conflict;

3. Critically evaluate the role of social media platforms in facilitating intergroup contact in divided societies;

4. Discuss the implications of platformed racism and hate speech for creating dialogue between groups divided along ethnic or sectarian lines;

5. Interpret qualitative and quantitative research relating to the role of media in building peace within divided societies.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.