Skip to content | Change text size

PLT3120 - Politics and Violence: Conquest, Exclusion and Reconciliation

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Paul Muldoon


Not offered in 2007


This unit interrogates the conventional distinction between politics and violence in light of the growing prominence of notions of reconciliation in democratic theory and practice. It examines the claim that it is impossible to either found a political community or determine the boundaries of the citizen body without doing a certain kind of violence on the frontier - violence to what came before (conquest) and what lies on the outside (exclusion). It questions whether the recent emergence of a 'politics of reconciliation' is symptomatic of a new willingness to deal with these 'acts of violence' or a dangerous substitution of therapy for justice.


On successful completion of this unit students at levels 2 and 3 are expected to be able to:

  1. understand the way in which the distinction between politics and violence has been used in democratic theory and practice
  2. recognise why questions have been raised about the legitimacy of democratic politics
  3. compare and contrast concepts that are central to democratic theory
  4. think critically about the emergence of a 'politics of reconciliation' in contemporary democratic states
  5. undertake structured research tasks and demonstrate high level written communication skills In addition, students undertaking this unit at level three are expected to be able to:
  6. relate theories about politics and violence to contemporary political issues
  7. reflect on whether (and how) political theory might help to legitimate certain kinds of violence


Conceptual Analysis (500 words) : 20%
Research Essay (2 500 words) : 50%
Exam (1 500) : 30%

Contact hours

2 hours/week


First year politics sequence