Violence – from state coercion to riots, wars and revolutions – remains an enduring reality around the globe. But whereas it is often believed that the point of constitutional politics is to make violence unnecessary, others argue that it is unavoidably an element of political action.
In this provocative book, Elizabeth Frazer and Kimberly Hutchings address these issues and ask whether the use of violence can ever be justified in politics. Using vivid examples from contemporary politics and the classics of political thought, they carefully explore the various justificatory strategies that have been deployed to argue that violence is a justifiable means to certain ends, or an inherent facet of politics. They ask whether the type of violence affects our willingness to justify it, and conclude that, ultimately, all attempts to justify political violence invariably fail.
This book will be essential introductory reading for students, scholars, and engaged citizens interested in war and peace studies, the ethics of terrorism, revolution, war, and political violence.
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.