Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POLM091: The Politics of Nonviolence

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.


NQF Level7
Credits30 ECTS Value15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff




Available via distance learning


This module will introduce you to the key theoretical and practical dimensions of nonviolence in contemporary politics, with a clear focus on conflict resolution and development. In the first part of this module, you will learn about the origins and the different definitions of nonviolence; the relationship with other important concepts such as pacifism, political power, and violence; the development of the two main traditions of nonviolence (principled and pragmatic).

This module will complement theoretical discussions with analysis of the political usages and applications of nonviolence. In particular, we will analyse examples of nonviolence as a tool to overthrow tyranny (civil resistance); as an approach for conflict mediation and resolution; as way to 'democratize democracies'; as a way to rethink institutions (using the European Union as an example); and as an alternative approach to wage war and fight terrorism. The emphasis will be on empirical evidence, that is, comparative case studies of contemporary power politics, conflict and domestic policy change.

Teaching will be through weekly seminars, supplemented by independent study. We will also use different media to explore case studies, including documentaries and films.

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