PLEASE NOTE THAT IN OCTOBER 2016 THIS MODULE BEGINS IN WEEK TWO.
The aim of this module is to allow students to study a distinctive aspect of modern French politics. France has a history of revolution, counter-revolution, coup d’etat and foreign occupation, not to mention lower-level violence on the streets and in factories. Students will examine a number of crucial moments of violence in modern French history within a context of some influential and important theories of political violence. At the centre of discussion will be important contemporary questions such as: ‘Is political violence always wrong?’ and ‘In what ways does liberal democracy represent an advance over other, more explicitly violent forms of political arrangements?’
- In this module we will study a distinctive aspect of modern French politics. France has a long history of violence in revolution, counter-revolution, coup d’etat, foreign occupation and protracted colonial wars, not to mention lower-level violence on the streets and in factories.
- We will look at theories and reflections on political violence, including those of Georges Sorel, Frantz Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
- We will also examine actual moments of particularly intense violence - including: Occupation and Resistance, 1940-1944; the Algerian struggle for independence, 1954-1962; and May 1968 – and ask whether the contemporary French political scene is much less prone to violence than in the past.
- By the end of the module we will be in a position to fully address such questions as: ‘Is political violence always wrong?’ and ‘Does liberal democracy represent a real advance over other, more obviously violent forms of political arrangements?
- Alain Brossat, Fêtes sauvages de la démocratie, Paris, Editions Austral, 1996.
- Frantz Fanon, Les Damnés de la Terre, Paris, Maspéro, 1961.
- Jacques Julliard (ed.), Histoire de la France: les conflits, Seuil, 2000.
- Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Humanisme et terreur, Paris, Gallimard .
- Jean-Paul Sartre, Préface à Fanon, 1961.
- Georges Sorel, Réflexions sur la violence, Paris, Seuil,  1990
These final-year modules will be examined EITHER by a combination of assessed work (50%) and formal examination (50%) OR solely by assessment (100%).