Not available in 2019/20
SO311 Half Unit
Law and Violence
This information is for the 2019/20 session.
Dr Ayca Cubukcu STC.S113
This course is available on the BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
This course is available to students in Year 3 only.
Law and Violence is an intensive introduction to key theoretical texts that can inform a nuanced understanding of the controversial yet crucial nexus between law and violence. What is the relationship between law and violence? Are they mutually exclusive forms of human action? Is it a paradox that law employs violence in claiming to prevent or circumscribe the latter? Is it a contradiction that violence is often the means to establish or change the law? We will consider these questions within historical contexts of the nation-state and the global legal order. The case of refugees—often caught “outside” the law—will also be considered.
20 hours of seminars in the LT.
This course requires the practice of close reading. We will not read in large quantities. However, students are expected to engage with the assigned texts deeply, paying special attention to the presuppositions of the authors and the structures of their argumentation, identifying the weaknesses and the strengths of their theoretical constructions. By the end of the course, students are expected to make the texts speak with and against each other. Students in this course will have a reading week in week 6.
Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 other piece of coursework in the LT.
Essay abstract (max 800 words) to be submitted in class in week 7. Students will get detailed feedback on their abstracts.
Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford Uni. Press. 1995.
Antony Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law. Cambridge University Press. 2005.
Talal Asad, “Thinking About Just War and Terrorism,” in Cambridge Journal of Foreign Affairs.
Talal Asad, On Suicide Bombing, Columbia University Press. 2007.
Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem. Penguin Press. 1963.
Walter Benjamin, “Critique of Violence” in Reflections, Schocken Books. 2002 .
Jacques Derrida, “Force of Law: The ‘Mystical Foundations of Authority’” in Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice. Drucilla Cornell, Michel Rosenfeld, David Gray Calson, eds. Routledge. 1992.
Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended. Picador. 2003 .
Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence. Dover. 2004 
Carl Schmitt, Political Theology. The MIT Press. 1985 .
Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth. Telos Press. 2003 .
Essay (90%, 4000 words) in the ST.
Class participation (10%) in the LT.
Two hard copies of the assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S116, no later than 16:30 on the first Tuesday of Summer Term. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day.
Total students 2018/19: 11
Average class size 2018/19: 12
Capped 2018/19: No
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Specialist skills