Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3000: Deadly Words: The Language of Political Violence

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Stephane Baele (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


In this module you are introduced to the crucial role of language in political violence. Building on theories from various disciplines (psychology, rhetoric, social cognition, IR), we expose the main ways through which language is used to propel political violence: through persuasion, identity constitution, threat construction, and worldview modelling. We use this conceptual toolbox to rigorously analyse a range of speeches/texts that played a role in triggering political violence, locating their important characteristics and modelling the social-cognitive processes that made these characteristics elicit violence. These cases are chosen from across the political spectrum (from Salafi-jihadist propaganda to far-right prose, from deep ecology to pre-genocide communications in Rwanda) to highlight the common traits that characterise extremist language as well as to identify the specificities of each case. You do not need any pre-requisite/co-requisite for this module, which is highly recommended for interdisciplinary pathways.

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