Change the world

The Department of Political and Conflict Studies

The Department of

Political and Conflict Studies

Nelson Mandela University would like to welcome prospective undergraduate and post-graduate students to the Department of Political Studies and Conflict Transformation. Our department offers a host of undergraduate and post-graduate courses with tailored focus in the sub-fields of political science and conflict transformation and resolution. 

The study of political science links members of civil society to an otherwise unexplored realm of enlightenment with regards to the study of governance and power relationships. To understand the way politics and the study of political science impacts on the world, is to know that it resonates through almost every sphere of our lives on a daily basis.

Studying in the governmental sciences familiarises one with the power structures that operate globally. It provides evidence for the modes of interaction between individuals, organizations, institutions and states. Political thinkers throughout the ages have guided us to understand concepts of how the world works (empirical) or should work (normative). To study political science allows you to encounter the justifications for certain liberties people are afforded. It teaches us to understand constitutional processes and structures such as the Bill of Rights. We are shown how states interact with each other on a global scale and how market capitalism influences governments in national and transnational capacities. In addition, Political ideologies and philosophical traditions provide us with workable definitions to explain how we are governed, such as the various political stances found in democracies. Studying political science unlocks the door and allows us to open our minds to understanding power strucutres and how we might be able to influence them positively.

With an understanding of all these themes in mind, you are then enabled with the tools to critique and analyse the norms and standards of society. A scholar of political science understands the methods and practices of the world enough to develop new strategies and assist changing or reforming political spaces where necessary. They then hold the key to the successful analysis, management or policy develpment in spheres such as education, healthcare, security, infrastructure, employment and commerce.

Conflict transformation and management is a rapidly growing and evolving medium within the social sciences. At Nelson Mandela University, conflict is studied and researched in an inclusive way as it strives to become an interdisciplinary field. There is the growing recognition that conflict transformation studies should not only focus on the issues of inter-state or intra-state war and disputation, but that conflict may occur at any level of society including within local communities and organisational spheres. Hence, there is a now well entrenched scholarship that a broader and all-encompassing approach to the study of conflict will produce a greater efficacy of research and constructive models to resolve conflicts at both socio-political or socio-economic levels.

Department Research Agenda: Democracy, Conflict and Socio-economic Inequality

  • Evolving trends in African democracy, ideology, political philosophy and comparative governance
  • Socio-economic and political issues; incorporating the study of social justice and inclusive citizenship
  • Conflict resolution and analysing deep-rooted conflict in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the globe
  • Community, Organisational and Societal Conflict Management and Transformation