Can Political Violence Ever Be Justified?
Can Political Violence Ever Be Justified?

Violence – from state coercion to wars and revolutions – remains an enduring global reality. But whereas it is often believed that the point of constitutional politics is to make violence unnecessary, others argue that it is an unavoidable element of politics.

In this lucid and erudite book, Elizabeth Frazer and Kimberly Hutchings address these issues using vivid contemporary and historic examples. They carefully explore the strategies that have been deployed to condone violence, either as means to certain ends or as an inherent facet of politics. Examining the complex questions raised by different types of violence, they conclude that, ultimately, all attempts to justify political violence fail.

This book will be essential introductory reading for students and scholars of the ethics and politics of political violence.

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  • April 2019
  • 140 pages
  • 125 x 193 mm / 5 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509529209
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509529216
  • Open eBook $10.99
  • 9781509529230
Table of Contents

Introduction: The Question of Political Violence

Chapter 1: Violence and Justification

Chapter 2: Simple justifications of simple violence

Chapter 3: Complicating matters

Chapter 4: The meaning of political violence

Chapter 5: Against the justification of political violence

Conclusion: Political Violence Can Never Be Justified

Sources and further reading
About the Author

Elizabeth Frazer is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford.

Kimberly Hutchings is Professor of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London.

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‘Drawing on a deep critical engagement with the theme of violence in political thought, Frazer and Hutchings offer a highly original treatment of a vitally important question for contemporary politics. I know of no scholars better qualified to answer it.’
Christopher Finlay, University of Durham

‘Rich in critical insight and empirical detail, Frazer and Hutchings’s book is more than a mere academic exercise. It asks about the lived reality of justice and what it might mean to take seriously questions of peaceful cohabitation.’
Brad Evans, University of Bath

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