Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton Second semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Ben MacQueen


Previously coded PLT3650


This subject provides an overview of contemporary political violence, focussed on 'terrorism' and 'insurgency'. It explores the different ways in which political violence manifests itself and engages with the questions of motivations for engaging in political violence and ways of understanding political violence. In so doing it covers cultural, economic and political explanations as well as engaging in conceptual debates over terms such as 'terrorist' and 'insurgent', and critically explores different strategies for dealing with the threat of global terrorism. In exploration of this, this unit takes a sample of cases from the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and North America.


After successfully completing this subject students should be able to demonstrate the following:

  1. A detailed understanding of the cultural, economic, social and religious circumstances that lie behind the spread of politically motivated violence;
  2. A detailed understanding of how politically motivated violence challenges established domestic and international political norms; especially in the areas of citizenship, state surveillance, and international cooperation between states;
  3. A thorough understanding of violent secessionist groups, insurgencies, and international terrorist networks and how these networks might impact on national and international security;
  4. An enhanced ability to contribute in a constructive way to public debates in areas such pre-emptive military action, peacekeeping, intelligence and surveillance, and other pertinent contemporary issues relating to government policies designed to both minimize and control the threat posed by politically motivated violence;
  5. A solid grounding in a range of case-based examples of terrorist and insurgent violence in the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and North America.


Written work: 50% (2500 words)
Class test: 40% (2 hours)
Participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Ben MacQueen

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminars) per week

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

International studies


First year sequence in politics.