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POL2082 : Political Violence and the Modern State

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Hartmut Behr
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Topics to be covered could include:

•       Johan Galtung’s typology of violence (1 session/week)
•       Hannah Arendt’s concept of violence (1 session/week)
•       Peace research and peace concepts of peace (as contrast to violence) (1 session/week)
•       Nationalism as a Form of Political Violence (3 sessions)
•       Western modernity as a Form of Political Violence (2 sessions)
•       Imperialism and Colonialism as a Form of Political Violence (2 sessions)
•       Essay Writing: Guidance for the Main Assignment (1 session)

Outline Of Syllabus

First week: Introduction and Johan Galtung’s typology of violence
Second week: Hannah Arendt’s concept of violence
Third week: Peace research and peace concepts
Fourth week: Nationalism as form of political violence I – Benedict Anderson’s analysis of nationalism
Fifth week: Nationalism as form of political violence II – Nationalist Discourses past and present-day
Sixth week: Nationalism as form of political violence III – The nationalist demand for homogeneity and territorial integrity
Seventh week: Western modernity as form of political violence I – Herbert Marcuse’s analysis of the “One-dimensional Man”
Eighth week: Western modernity as form of political violence II – The W. Adorno’s and Max Horkheimer’s analysis of instrumentalism in Western modernity
Ninth week: Colonialism as Form of Political Violence
Tenth week: Imperialism as a Form of political violence
Eleventh week: Essay writing

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00PiP lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1113:00113:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities114:0044:00Annotated readings, non-synchronous
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PiP small group teaching with TAs
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion52:0010:00optional drop in sessions (in addition to normal guidance, feedback, and consultation hours)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods (Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities; Guided In-dependent Study, but also structured guided learning) seem best suited to accomplish the Learning Outcomes to 1) to enhance understandings of political violence, 2) to understand the links between political violence and the modern state, and (3) to increase knowledge on empirical cases of political violence. Students will thus be prepared through a mix of teaching and learning methods, together with feedback options (online feedback and consultation hours as well as drop-in sessions for additional feedback, guidance, and Q&Ss.

There are 11 lectures that introduce students to the key terms, concepts, and texts in the study of political violence and its application to Western statehood. These lectures are PiP and 2hrs long. In addition to this, there are PiP seminars on each lecture topic by TAs that are 1hr long. Both PiP lectures and PiP seminars accumulate to 33hrs/semester. In addition, there are five 2hrs mandatory (non-compulsory) drop-in sessions online (these show to be helpful from previous years as students may have questions that occur to them after the lectures and/or seminars and that they would like to discuss) as well as annotated readings guide students through the main readings and main questions to be asked. Students can also learn from relating respective texts intertextually and thereby create relations and meaning between respective texts and discourses to accomplish a synoptic understanding of the module’s thematic. There are usual feedback, guidance, and consultation hours.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M15500 word essay
Essay1M853000 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment comprises a 500 word and 3000 word essay. The 500 word essay is on the analytical concepts that serve as guiding framework for the module and for analytically approaching empirical examples. Feedback on this first assessment component will provide students with guided and self-reflective learning aides for the second assessment and the module learning outcomes more generally.

The second, 3000 word essay will ask for a synoptic analysis of the module themes in form of applying the analytical framework reflected upon the first assignment to the empirical examples discussed in the module.
The essays will allow students the opportunity to probe academic analysis and to prepare for their assessment in the final year in greater depth than would be possible in an exam. The essays will also provide opportunities for the acquisition of writing and presentation skills that are crucial for students’ academic education and professional skills.

Relation between 1st and 2nd essay: In order to pass this module a student is only required to secure an overall pass mark, i.e. a mark of 40% or above based on the combined marks secured on both assessments. In other words, if a student fails the smaller and lesser weighted component, they could still pass the module if their mark on the larger component pulled them up

Reading Lists