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Unit information: Theories of Violence in 2015/16

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Unit name Theories of Violence
Unit code SPAIM0036
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Brad Evans
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This module will provide students with an introduction into the key theorists on violence in post-war critical thought. Offering a distinct author based perspective, students will be provided with a thorough grounding in the key theoretical approaches, along with a platform for interrogating the broader theoretical canon. The module will: i) Introduce students to the key theoretical approaches to violence in order to provide an analytical framework with which to critique the many forms it takes ii) Develop skills in critically questioning prevailing understandings of violence which have a direct impact upon our understanding of social regression, conflict resolution, and peaceful co-habitation iii) Interrogate the differences between different theorists on violence as they relate to historical and contemporary experiences iv) Debate and critique the problem of violence in all its forms, with a particular emphasis on understanding the nuances of theoretical debate as they relate to real world problems.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to: 1) demonstrate a sophisticated understanding the main theoretical post-war approaches to the problem of violence 2) Appreciate the political, socio-economic, cultural, moral, and symbolic dimensions of violence 3) Critically evaluate contested theories of violence and show awareness of nuances and key debates 4) Relate theories of violence to historical and contemporary experiences

Teaching Information

Two hour seminar

Assessment Information

Formative Assessment: 15 minute student group presentation to investigate the relevance of particular thinkers to contemporary cases of violence. Talks are to engage with the histories of violence “thinkers” series directed by Dr. Evans:

4,000-word essay (100%) Both assessments assess all learning outcomes

Reading and References

Students will be introduced to key chapters and supplementary readings from key texts such as:

Arendt, Hannah. On Violence. Mariner Books. 1970. Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Viking Press. 1963. Bauman, Zygmunt, Society Under Siege. Cambridge: Polity. 2002 Bauman, Zygmunt, Modernity and The Holocaust. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. 1989 Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Translated by Richard Philcox, with a foreword by Homi Bhabha. New Yor : Grove Press. 2005 Foucault, Michel. “Society Must Be Defended”: Lectures at the College de France, 1975-1976. Picador. 2003. Foucault, Michel. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Vintage. 1995. Slavoj Zizek, Violence: Six Sideways Reflections, New York: Picador. 2008.