State Violence: Theories of the Leviathan and Beyond

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This module 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

  • Assignment 1: 30%
  • Assignment 2: 50%
  • Oral Presentation: 10%
  • Seminar Participation: 10%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules