Violence and Political Theory
Violence and Political Theory
Is politics necessarily violent? Does the justifiability of violence depend on whether it is perpetrated to defend or upend the existing order – or perhaps on the way in which it is conducted? Is violence simply direct physical harm, or can it also be structural, symbolic, or epistemic?

In this book, Elizabeth Frazer and Kimberley Hutchings explore how political theorists, from Niccolo Machiavelli to Elaine Scarry, have addressed these issues. They engage with both defenders and critics of violence in politics, analysing their diverse justificatory and rhetorical strategies in order to draw out the enduring themes of these debates. They show how political theorists have tended to evade the central difficulties raised by violence by either reducing it to a neutral tool or identifying it with something quite distinct, such as justice or virtue. They argue that, because violence is necessarily wrapped up with hierarchical and exclusive structures and imaginaries, legitimising it in terms of the ends that it serves, or how it is perpetrated, no longer makes sense.

This book will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars in areas ranging from the ethics of terror and war to radical and revolutionary political thought.
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  • May 2020
  • 224 pages
  • 138 x 212 mm / 5 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509536719
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509536726
  • Open eBook $18.00
  • 9781509536733
Table of Contents
Introduction: Reflections on Politics and Violence
Chapter One: Politics and Revolutionary Violence
Chapter Two: Politics and State Violence
Chapter Three: Politics and Violence Reconsidered
Chapter Four: Politics as a Continuation of Violence
Chapter Five: The Problem of Violence
Chapter Six: Violence and the Transformation of Man
Chapter Seven: The Politicisation of Violence
Chapter Eight: Towards a Political Theory of Violence
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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‘This excellent book offers a very careful, systematic and immensely readable introduction and analysis of the intersection between violence and politics, from Machiavelli to the present day.'
Vittorio Bufacchi, University College Cork, Ireland

"[T]here is no comparable text in the English language that approximates the breadth of coverage that the authors achieve."
The Review of Politics
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