Course catalogue

Name101F20 The Political Sociology of Violence
Language Engelsk
Course levelKandidat
Department Institut for Statskundskab
Related educations
Course code431192U048
Teacher<ul> <li>Carsten Bagge Laustsen</li> <li>Morten Brænder</li> <li>Thomas Olesen</li> <li>Gorm Harste</li> <li>Lasse Lindekilde</li> </ul>
Course type Ordinær
FacultyAarhus BSS
Course catalogue id97760

Description of qualifications:

<p><em>This core course centres on analysing, explaining and understanding political violence among individuals, groups and societies. Although the main focus of the course is political sociology, it covers a wide range of topics where knowledge and insights from adjacent disciplines in political science will be seen as fruitful assets to the classes. &#160;</em></p> <p>Two years ago, the media flooded with articles about the &#8216;gang conflict&#8217; in the streets of Copenhagen. No one died. So, why? Was it because the shootings fuelled right-wing suspicions that Muslim culture is inherently violent, that Muslims owe little allegiance to their host society and &#8211; accordingly &#8211; that terrorists, foreign fighters and N&#248;rrebro street gangs should be lumped together? Was it because stories about gang culture &#8211; about strong codes of honour and unbreakable bonds of cohesion &#8211; remind us of a fundamental shortcoming of modern society? Or was it simply because we, as individuals, always are intrigued by the thrill of danger in such stories, by the spark of excitement that lightens up the dullness of our everyday lives? Regardless of the reason, all these three explanations tell us something important about violence in society, albeit from different perspectives. The purpose of this core course is to provide students with the theoretical tools and empirical insights to study political violence in its different shapes and sizes.</p> <p>Political violence is everywhere. Most of the time, however, we overlook it. Violence is &#8211; intuitively seen &#8211; exceptional. It negates the social order we strive to uphold. What we overlook is that social order can only be maintained by violent means. Some of these means are physical and institutionalised &#8211; e.g. the military, the police, the court and the prison systems. Other means are subtler, e.g. social oppression, but can be characterised as violent nevertheless. Moreover, violence is thrilling. It is the stuff that every good narrative is made of. It is part of popular culture. And media attention centres on stories of conflict.</p> <p>Political sociology has always dealt with violence. A main reason for this is that violence is inherently social. Violence may be omnipresent and fascinating. Man-made wars may claim hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Yet, we are not born as perpetrators. We have to learn to commit violence. Likewise, what is considered as violence in general and political violence in particular has changed with time. The creation of the modern state enabled man to wage wars more efficiently, but this efficiency altered the make-up of both the state and the war.</p> <p>Thus, political violence is a slippery concept. Accordingly, we will devote the first four &#8211; introductory &#8211; sessions to providing students with an analytical grid by means of which the review of the specific topics can be accessed. Likewise, the course will consist of three main parts: One focusing on political violence from a micro-sociological perspective, one focusing on the meso-sociological perspective and one focusing on the macro-sociological perspective.</p> <p>A preliminary session plan looks as follows:</p> <p>PART 1: INTRODUCTION &#8211; THE CONCEPT, FORM AND HISTORY OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE</p> <p>Session 1: Why a sociology of political violence?</p> <p>Session 2: The history of violence</p> <p>Session 3: Forms of political violence</p> <p>Session 4: Violence and the state</p> <p>Session 5: Violence against the state &#8211; revolutionary violence.</p> <p><br />PART 2: THE MICRO-SOCIOLOGY OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE</p> <p>Session 6: The psychology of political violence</p> <p>Session 7: Violence and emotions &#8211; fear, anger, hatred</p> <p>Session 8: Perpetrators, profiles and personality traits</p> <p>Session 9: Hate speech and racism</p> <p>Session 10: Situational factors of violent encounters.</p> <p><br />PART 3: THE MESO-SOCIOLOGY OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE</p> <p>Session 11: Mobilisation and recruitment to violent groups</p> <p>Session 12: Small-group dynamics and violence: gangs, hooligans and terrorist cells</p> <p>Session 13: Obedience and authority</p> <p>Session 14: Gender and violence</p> <p>Session 15: Motivating violence: religion, ideology and propaganda.</p> <p><br />PART 4: THE MACRO-SOCIOLOGY OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE</p> <p>Session 16: Ethnic conflict and genocide</p> <p>Session 17: War</p> <p>Session 18: Soldiers and veterans</p> <p>Session 19: Just war</p> <p>Session 20: Terrorism.</p> <p><br />PART 5: RESPONDING TO VIOLENCE</p> <p>Session 21: Trauma and collective remembering</p> <p>Session 22: Counter-radicalisation</p> <p>Session 23: Policing and intelligence</p> <p>Session 24: Communicating about the risk of violence</p> <p>Session 25: Post-conflict peace building, reconstruction and reconciliation.</p> <p>Sessions 26-30: Synopses in groups.</p> <br />To ensure cohesion within and between classes, we will include a number of non-written sources exemplifying the sociological relevance of the topics we study, and to strengthen the students&#8217; analytical skills. Such supplementary sources can be films, excursions and practical exercises with data collection and analyses. Likewise, to prepare the participants for the synopsis exam and to train their communicative skills, students will be expected to hand in and respond to smaller written assignments throughout the course.


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