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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton First semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Paul Muldoon


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


Tutorial participation: 10%
Written work: 60% (3000 words)
2 Hours exam: 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Paul Muldoon

Contact hours

2 hours/week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

International studies
Behavioural studies


First year politics sequence