Political Violence

Politiek geweld

From occupation and genocide, to regime change and political protest: political conflict has many forms, yet often violence is involved. In our section, we first of all aim to study violent conflict as a specific kind of conflict, and to explain how contention can escalate into violent interaction, yet also how the end of violence involves the reconstruction of more peaceful forms of political coordination – even if the impact and memory of violence continues to define the societies that emerge out of violent conflict.

The varieties and nature of political violence

We are interested in interpreting and explaining the varieties of violent interactions: in scale from the lowest level of individual bloodshed to international military encounters; and in temporalities, from instantaneous violent encounters to long-term structural violence. Most importantly, we want to understand the political nature of violence, and to see it as a modality of violence within a wider range of symbolic, communicative, integrative, exclusionary and (re)distributive repertoires of violent interaction. This means that we aim for a theoretically informed yet empirically richly textured understanding of the role of violence in modern and contemporary political history, with an emphasis on the European experiences in the long nineteenth and short twentieth century, primarily within the context of national states, but with an additional focus on the imperial, colonial, and ecological aspects of Europe’s violent history.

Researchers in this theme