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Division: The New School for Social Research
Course Number: GPOL 5051
Course Format: Seminar
Permission Required: Yes
Far from receding with the rise of liberal democracies worldwide, violence appears to be enjoying a spectacular rebound ? from the wave of revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East to dramatic acts of individual terror in Norway. This course explores classical theoretical propositions concerning the role of violence in bringing about social and political change ? from Marx, through Weber, Lenin, Gramsci, Arendt, and Benjamin, to more recent thinkers like Bourdieu, Agamben, Zizek, and Michnik. We will look at different types of political violence, and revisit Arendt’s distinction between the justifiability and the legitimacy of violence. Conscious of the traditional forms of political violence ? wars, revolutions, and armed struggle movements ? we will pay close attention to the forms and consequences of structural violence, but also examine the forms of cultural and symbolic violence, such as language that routinely serves to legitimize violence. A separate session will be dedicated to the discourse on non-violence.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions
Not open to Undergraduate students.