Justice, Violence and the State - PL620

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 30 (15) DR LV Radoilska







Under what circumstances might it be permissible to use violence to further political goals? What distinguishes different sorts of political violence? Ought the state to have a monopoly on political violence? Are there some methods that should never be used to further political goals? In this course, we will look at the various forms of political violence, and consider how political and legal theorists have tried to regulate violent interaction between states and within states. We will examine the conceptual difficulties that arise when postulating international laws, and consider the role of the United Nations as international mediator and law enforcer. We will also look at the rights of self-determination amongst sub-national groups, and at the obligations of the international community to intervene to prevent humanitarian abuses.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

2 hour lecture, 2 hour seminar for 10 teaching weeks


Also available under PL621 (Level 6)

Method of assessment

100% Coursework

Preliminary reading

Indicative Reading List:

Altman, A. and Wellman, C.H. (2009) A Liberal Theory of International Justice, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Coady, C.A.J. (2008) Morality and Political Violence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Held, V. (2008) How Terrorism is Wrong, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Walzer, M. (1977) Just and Unjust Wars, New York: Basic Books

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module Level 5 students will be able to:
8.1 demonstrate a greater appreciation of a number of philosophical topics, such as: different forms of political violence, including terrorism, revolution and war; possible justifications of the use violence for political ends; the role of institutions like nation states, the United Nations and the International Criminal Court in regulating the use of political violence. 8.2 read philosophy in a way that helps them develop and refine their own ideas;
8.3 write philosophy in a way that clearly expresses their ideas, and is structured and imaginative.

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