SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

State Violence: Theories of the Leviathan and Beyond

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/2023
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 2

This half-unit module running in Term 2 seeks to critically engage with the politic and theory of state violence. We will begin by a close, slow, reading of some primary philosophies of violence to try and understand both the phenomena itself and its schemes of justification: how do states justify their own violence? What is the relation between law and violence? How are colonial legacies change both the meaning and justification of violence? The first weeks of the term would thus serve as a theoretical foundation to approaching questions of political violence. We will continue by working through some themes concerning institutionalized state-violence: how is it negotiated with liberal, egalitarian political frameworks? How is it narrated, perceived, and represented? What is the importance of (in)visibility and representation for tackling these questions? What is its role in the formation of the modern self?


  • Two-hour lecture per week

Method of assessment

Assessment is made up of 70% coursework, 20% seminar participation, and 10% oral presentation.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules