The Hutton Prize for Excellence is awarded annually to a Politics, Business or Law undergraduate or postgraduate, and seeks to reward, encourage and inspire those who put ethical conduct and transparency at the forefront of government, business and the professions

Politics student wins this year’s Hutton Prize for Excellence

Roberto Baldoli has won this year’s Hutton Prize for Excellence for a doctoral thesis in Politics on “Reconstructing Nonviolence”. His thesis was chosen as it was seen to promote, propose and demonstrate high standards of ethical conduct for the benefit of individuals and society.

Roberto summarises his dissertation as follows: "My PhD thesis aims to ‘reconstruct’ the concept of nonviolence, offering a new unifying and pluralistic definition, which is able to contribute to the many current debates on the crisis of democracy and the construction of a post-secular society. Nonviolence emerges as an innovative and complex approach to the political and social world, able to show an alternative path towards revolutions, ‘democratizing democracies’, and even fighting terrorism.

This interpretation is the result of an in-depth scrutiny of the history of the term nonviolence, and in particular of the analysis of an important but understudied European nonviolent philosopher: Aldo Capitini. Inspired by Mazzini and Christ, St. Francis of Assisi and Gandhi, he developed a theory of individual and collective liberation through nonviolence and ‘open religion’ during and after the Second World War”.

The Hutton Prize for Excellence is awarded annually to a Politics, Business or Law undergraduate or postgraduate, and seeks to reward, encourage and inspire those who put ethical conduct and transparency at the forefront of government, business and the professions. The prize consists of one Troy ounce of gold formed into a medal, and is awarded following scrupulous assessment by the committee, who determine which dissertation best meets the ethics and good governance criteria.

Roberto was supervised by Claudio Radaelli, who said “‘Reconstructing nonviolence’ is an ambitious dissertation that blends ethics, public policy and political theory. Roberto claims that nonviolence is more than a resource to resist authoritarian rule. Today it is the key ethical and political force that citizens can use to rescue contemporary democracies from their crisis. To achieve that, however, we need to join two dimensions of nonviolence that have been separated in Western political theory: these are the principled dimension and the pragmatic dimension. Roberto draws on a variety of sources in his re-construction of nonviolence, especially the political theory and praxis of Aldo Capitini (1899-1968). In the final part of the dissertation, Roberto connects his argument about nonviolence to key debates on public ethics, the role of religion in public life and democratic theory.”

Roberto also added "I am honoured to be awarded the Hutton Prize. This prize represents a very significant recognition of my work at Exeter, and it is a great encouragement and motivation to further pursue the research on nonviolence. I am most grateful to Professor Claudio Radaelli, who provided me with trust, guidance, understanding, encouragement and friendship. I also want to thank Dr. Andrew Schaap for his precious help, suggestions and criticisms to the (many) versions of this work."

Date: 16 December 2015

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