POLSC224-19A (HAM)

Terrorism, Violence and the State

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Political Science and Public Policy

Staff

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Convenor(s)

Lecturer(s)

Administrator(s)

: frances.douch@waikato.ac.nz

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Tutor(s)

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: jillene.bydder@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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Politically-inspired violence is the nemesis of our age. It means different things to different groups, and almost always represents the last recourse of the desperate and the weak.Nevertheless, it does sometimes lend great power to those who employ it ruthlessly.This paper will attempt to disaggregate and analyse this macro-phenomenon, particularly as it manifests itself in the enigmatic concept of terrorism. As is sometimes said, ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’. Nevertheless, the definition of terrorism in the contemporary world is becoming increasingly clear. Much of this paper will concern itself with terrorism as an increasingly prominent and concerning political phenomenon. We will attempt to define and clarify it in its many guises and interpretations. As Colin Wright notes, ‘the use of the term terrorism is as much a political weapon as are acts of terrorism’. In an age where children are increasingly used as suicide bombers, and where tiny groups of fanatics can exercise a global political impact through terrorist acts, political scientists must stop and take account of this rising tide.

This paper will examine, then, the role of the state in its responses to political violence with a particular focus upon acts that can be defined as terrorism. It will include definitional problems,the role of grievances, recruitment and radicalisation, the media and the internet, financial and criminal dimensions, the impact of economic circumstances, political dimensions, ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorism, left- and right-wing terrorism and religious terrorism, as well as the use and potential future use of weapons of mass destruction. We will examine several major existing terrorist groups, and attempt to provide the grounds for assessing future risk…to our own society, and to the global environment.

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Paper Structure

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This paper is taught in two one-hour lectures, with participation in one tutorial per week expected. Students should sign up for one of the tutorial times using the button in Topic two on the Moodle site for this paper. Tutorials will start in the second week of the semester. Attendance at lectures and tutorials is strongly advised, particularly since the short answer test will be based on material covered in these classes as well as the text.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Terrorism, Violence and the State

    Understand the basic concepts used in examining and comparing the politics and governments of different nations

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    Understand in a broadly political context the three basic concepts of the paper, terrorism, violence and the state

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    Understand the basic political concepts that link these three increasingly vital aspects of contemporary life

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    Recognise the ethical and psychological distinctions between civil disobedience, violent revolt and terrorism

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    Identify the global transformations that have transformed the post-Cold War era

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    Understand the stages and pitfalls in transitions from authoritarian to democratic regimes

    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand key elements of comparative politics
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessment

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Internal assessment/examination ratio: 1:0

  • First 2 tests: 20% each
  • Last test: 25%
  • Six Discussion quizzes (in class--the top 5 are averaged): 20%
  • Participation in tutorials (one tutorial per week): 15%
Component Description
Due Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Test 1 21 Mar 2019 12 noon 20 Hand in: In Class
2. Test 2 April 11

12 noon

20
Hand in: In Class
3. Last test , comprehensive with emphasis on material covered after the 2nd test
12 Jun 2019
4:00 PM
25
Hand in: In Class
4. Discussion quizzes (in classes)
20
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
5. Participation in tutorials
15
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Test
21 Mar 2019
12:00 PM
20
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
2. 2nd Test
11 Apr 2019
12:00 PM
20
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
3. Last Test
12 Jun 2019
4:00 PM
25
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
4. Pre-announced Quizzes
20
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
5. Tutorial Attendance
15
  • Hand-in: In Tutorial
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Colin Wight, Rethinking Terrorism; Terrorism, Violence and the State. Palgrave, 2015.
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Recommended Readings

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Monitoring newspaper (the Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times) accounts, several journal articles and book reviews. To be announced during the semester
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Other Resources

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A brief bibliography of library and video resources, to be made available to students during the semester.
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Online Support

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The paper will have lecture points presented on Powerpoint slides, which will be made available on the paper's Moodle site prior to class each class day. These lecture points will remain on the site for students. The POLSC224 Moodle site will feature additional resources as well, including the means for direct question and answers with the lecturer and tutor.
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Workload

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Expected workload in this paper is 10-12 hours per week. This includes reading, review and attendance in lectures and tutorials.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite(s)

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

Restricted papers: POLS224

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