MASTERS IN DIALOGUE STUDIES
MA in Dialogue Studies
School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE), Keele University, UK
The MA in Dialogue Studies is designed for graduates who wish to examine and understand theories of dialogue and their applications in peace-building and in developing intercultural understanding and social cohesion. While definitions of “dialogue” will be explored in the course of the year, it might be loosely defined here as “a range of activities, including but not confined to discussion, through which people of different social, cultural and religious groups deliberately come together for meaningful and constructive interaction.” The MA course explores the theory and practice of dialogue through a unique combination of taught subjects, research, skills-based training and a London-based internship.
The course fills a gap in postgraduate education provision by not only exploring the use of dialogue in conflict and post-conflict situations but also examining its use in combating discrimination, ghettoisation and extremism in countries such as the UK. The main core module accordingly both introduces dialogue for peace-building and explores theUK context for dialogue, drawing on the fields of sociology and history as well as politics.
The degree has a practical outlook and will equip students with knowledge, understanding and skills to effectively engage in and lead dialogue to advance intercultural interaction and understanding and social cohesion. It includes a work placement during which students will gain professional experience with the Dialogue Society. Practical elements will be supported by rigorous, reflective examination of the approaches of governmental and nongovernmental agencies to dialogue, social cohesion and reconciliation. The course’s broad scope and interdisciplinary nature will encourage students to bring broad perspectives to bear on any specific local issues with which they engage professionally.
Students will be able to pursue their particular interests within the degree’s broad remit through a wide choice of elective taught modules and through their dissertation. It will accordingly be possible for each student to choose whether to devote more attention to domestic or to international contexts for dialogue and whether to focus on its applications in peacebuilding or in the promotion of social cohesion.
The course consists of:
•Core module 1: Approaches in Dialogue
•Core module 2: Power, Knowledge and the World
•2 elective taught modules
•A work placement at the Dialogue Society, with practical experience, further training, meetings at relevant government departments and NGOs, and trips exploring multicultural London
•A 15,000 word dissertation
Who is it for?
•Students wishing to explore the theory and practice of intercultural dialogue in the UK context, and in conflict situations abroad
•Professionals and aspiring academics interested in core social issues such as intercultural dialogue, community relations and citizenship
•Activists and dialogue practitioners looking to develop their understanding of relevant social theory while enhancing essential dialogue skills
The MA offers:
•A cutting-edge combination of taught academic subjects, research, skills-based training and internship
•A postgraduate course designed and delivered in partnership by Keele University’s internationally renowned School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, and the Dialogue Society, a dynamic London-based dialogue charity
•A broad range of elective modules allowing students to pursue their own particular academic interests
•A head start in professional experience through an internship at the Dialogue Society in the heart of multicultural London
•Cultivation of an unusually wide range of valuable transferable skills, comprising academic, professional and personal skills
•Bursaries available to overseas students through the Dialogue Society in addition to those bursaries offered by SPIRE to selected postgraduates
•Quality research training and support
Aims of the Course
The course aims to provide students with the conceptual and analytical skills and the factual knowledge to develop a critical understanding of theoretical and practical approaches to dialogue, peace-building and community cohesion. This understanding will be supported by understanding of key contexts for dialogue, in theUK and in selected conflict situations. The course also aims to equip students with practical skills to engage in and lead intercultural dialogue, chiefly through the professional experience and training provided through the Dialogue Society placement. Further, the course will prepare students for research and support them in producing a dissertation on their chosen topic.
Career Destination Information
The Dialogue Studies Masters is aimed at people who wish to pursue careers in a whole range of sectors. It is relevant to those wishing to gain employment in the civil or government service at the sub-national, national or global level, or to those looking to work with sub-national, national or international NGOs. The course will also be a good preparation for further postgraduate study and is ideally suited to those interested in pursuing study of the theory and practice of dialogue at PhD level and beyond.
In addition, students will graduate with a range of transferable skills beneficial in any number of contexts. These skills will include at least: cultural sensitivity, empathy, teamwork and leadership skills, project management skills, research skills, public speaking skills, ability to lead and chair discussions, dialogue facilitation skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Course Structure and Content
All students will complete two core taught modules as follows:
1. Approaches to Dialogue (30 credits)
This module will place the practice of dialogue in the context of key concepts, debates and positions relating to multiculturalism, political community and citizenship in Britain and other national contexts. It will explore social, demographic and political issues in the recent (1945-present) history of immigration in Britain including public and political debates about diversity during this period. It will critically review British national state policies for the management of diversity since 1945, focusing on their ideological underpinnings (including multiculturalism, integration and cohesion). Current political and theoretical debates about multiculturalism will inform analysis of the limits and possibilities for dialogue.
The module will focus primarily on the UK context for dialogue. However, select case studies from other national contexts (e.g. Yugoslavia, South Africa) will be drawn upon to critically explore opportunities for, and barriers to, conflict resolution and peace building.
2. Power, Knowledge and the World (30 credits)
This module aims to provide a foundation in the philosophy of the social sciences and an examination of the core assumptions that underpin different approaches to knowledge generation. It also aims to provide an understanding of the politics and international relations of knowledge generation and circulation. In other words, it examines how social scientists have approached the questions of what to study, how to study, and the ways in which these issues are bound up with historical and current power structures in the world.
The module will prepare students to engage critically and reflectively with the content of the MA course and to undertake the research involved in writing their dissertation.
Students will be able to pursue their own interests related to theories, practices and contexts for dialogue in choosing from an eclectic range of elective modules.
Elective modules will be chosen from a wide range of SPIRE modules. It may also be possible for students to take modules in Politics, Diplomatic Studies, Management, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Public Policy and History. The precise list of available modules may vary from year to year.
• Power, Knowledge and the World
• Environmental Decision Making: the Case of Complex Technologies
• Global Environmental Change
• The Theory of Global Security
• Contemporary Political Philosophy
• Environmental Ethics
• Contesting International Relations
• Parties and Democracy
• The Changing International Agenda
• Comparative European Politics
• Environmental Movements: North and South
• Environmental Problems and Policies in the US
• Diplomatic Law
• Dimensions of Environmental Politics
• Environmental Diplomacy
• The Politics of Sin: Culture Wars in the US
• Race and Justice: Civil Rights in the US
Relevant modules from other Schools:
NB not all these modules will be available every year and they will not always be compatible with Dialogue Studies students’ core commitments.
* Public Policy modules allowing students to expand their understanding of a key element of UK society which may significantly influence intercultural and interreligious relations and social cohesion. Relevant modules include:
* Politics, Political Economy and Public Policy: Explaining and Making Public Policy (MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)
* Policy Implementation and Governance: Policy in Action (30 credits, MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)
* Global Media and Culture modules giving students the opportunity to develop understanding of key factors shaping British and international contexts for dialogue: globalisation and media in contemporary culture. Relevant modules include:
* Globalisation, Culture, Society (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)
* Contemporary Cultural and Media Theory (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)
* Sociology modules, through which students may deepen their understanding of the UK context for dialogue. Relevant modules include:
* City Cultures (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)
* Urban Governance and Policy Making (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)
* History modules
* Imperialism (BA History, School of Humanities)
* Right-Wing Movements in Inter-War Europe (BA History, School of Humanities)
* Africa Since 1800 (BA History, School of Humanities)
* Management School skills modules, through which students may pursue valuable professional development to enhance their future career
* Leading People
* People, Processes and Operations
* Right-Wing Movements (20 credits, adapted from BA History, School of Humanities)
Students may also choose to study a modern foreign language (other than English).
10-week placement at the Dialogue Society during the Spring semester (30 credits). Students’ activities will include:
• Helping London-based community centres to branch out and run dialogue projects to bring local communities together, with the support of Dialogue Society staff and resources. Students will work in small teams and will each have the opportunity to manage a small-scale dialogue project. 2011 projects included a seminar on knife crime for local residents, Mothers’ Day visits to local care homes with children who use the community centres, and an official opening celebration for one community centre.
• Supporting ongoing Dialogue Society projects and events.
• Attending weekly sessions at the Dialogue Society’s Dialogue School. This will enable students to further explore and discuss different approaches to dialogue as well as providing training in a number of key skills for organised dialogue.
• Networking at external events.
• Exploring the cultural, religious and political landscape of multicultural London through visits to relevant government departments, other dialogue NGOs, places of worship and areas of particular historical/cultural interest. The 2011 placement included visits to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a historical tour of East London and visits to a Gurdwara, a Buddhist Centre and a Synagogue.
• Keeping records of the placement and producing a reflective diary.
• Examination of taught modules will be by written coursework and assessment of tutorial performance only (no written examinations)
The work placement will be assessed on:
• Performance and management of assigned tasks
• The student’s written plans and records
• The student’s placement diary
• Students demonstrating an outstanding level of work will receive their degree with distinction.
SPIRE offers a limited number of bursaries to postgraduate students. Details are available on SPIRE’s website.
The Dialogue Society offers a limited number of bursaries for the Dialogue Studies MA postgraduate degree. The bursary only covers the difference between overseas and home fee rate. Effectively therefore, successful students will only pay University fee at home fee rate. To apply for a Dialogue Society bursary, students must first receive an offer from Keele University for this degree.
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