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PLM5310 - Wars of Recognition: Terrorism and Political Violence

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: David Wright-Neville


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This subject explores the relationship between contemporary forms of political violence, especially terrorism, and the forces of globalisation. It focuses in particular on violence as a manifestation of the disintegration of traditional belief systems centering on 'the nation' and the emergence of assertive forms of sub-cultural resistance. Through case studies of terrorist networks and the ideologies that motivate them, the course addresses conundrums such as the distinction between 'freedom fighters' and 'terrorists', the relationship between technology, economy and political violence, and the impact of violence on traditional notions of national and international governance.


  1. To develop in students a sophisticated understanding of
    1. the global circumstances behind rise of culture and identity as contested political concepts,
    2. under what circumstances cultural politics can take on a violent/terrorist edge, and
    3. the implications of these developments for national and international forms of governance.
  2. To foster in students a high level understanding of the challenges posed to established norms of global politics by the spread of terrorist networks and other violence-prone movements (including through case studies of terrorist movements).
  3. To enhance students' ability to contribute to public debates on issues such as counter-terrorism, state-sponsored violence, and arguments over trade-offs between civil and individual rights and public security. 4. To develop a sophisticated understanding of conceptual debates over politically motivated violence, especially how these debates have been shaped by divergent theories of globalisation.
  4. To develop a high level understanding of the moral ambiguities surrounding political violence, and how these ambiguities complicate measures to counter or control violence.


Essay (6000 words): 50%
Examination (3 hours): 50%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week


Applicants should have completed a bachelors degree with a major in politics, or a Faculty Certificate in politics with grades of at least credit average. Subject to the approval of the Graduate Coordinator, applicants with a major in a cognate discipline may be admitted.