Risk, crisis, conflict: political analysis of emergencies (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Olivia Guaraldo
Olivia Guaraldo
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
1° semestre (A), 1° semestre (B)

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims at introducing and discussing some of the major issues concerning political philosophy, especially those related to the contemporary global challenges that interest this field of research. What are the main political challenges of our present? What are the conceptual tools at our disposal to understand and possibly solve new and unprecedented emergency crises, conflicts, global risks? The course will tackle these themes by using both philosophical texts and literary, cinematic tools in order to broaden the political and cultural comprehension of phenomena.
At the end of this course students will have acquired the following skills:
- Knowledge of the major concepts of modern and contemporary political theory
- Ability to apply such concepts to the understanding of contemporary emergency phenomena of political nature (conflicts, wars, migrations, humanitarian crises, terrorist attacks).
- Ability to elaborate complex analyses of emergency situations, able to include and relate to eachother theoretical, historico-political, and contingent aspects of emergency, in order to favour peaceful solutions of conflicts).
- Ability to critically analyse media, governmental, and public representations o emergency phenomena.
- Ability to project, implement and disseminate communicative products (cultural, humanitarian, civic) informed by respect for human dignity and cultural diversity.



How do the concepts of war and enemy change in today’s global world? What kind of practices and experiences correspond to contemporary transformations of the political use of force?
Rupert Smith – commander in Chief of the UN forces in Bosnia and deputy supreme commander of NATO - affirms that war does no longer have to do with armies that confront eachother in an open field, it does not deal with professional combat any more, but is instead a war that is fought ‘amongst the people’, and the battlefield is mostly civil: houses, streets, squares. Its victims are mostly civil.
Moving from Carl Schmitt’s conceptualization of the structural belonging of politics and enmity, we will also analyze the contemporary transformations of the notion of enemy. Is it still possible to speak of a ‘military strategy’? Who is the regular and the irregular combatant? Who is the victim?

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Olivier Roy Generazione Isis: chi sono i giovani che scelgono il califfato e perché combattono l’occidente Feltrinelli 2017
Rupert Smith L'arte della guerra nel mondo contemporaneo il Mulino 2009 pp. 43-74; pp. 345-464
Carl Schmitt Le categorie del politico il Mulino 1972 "Premessa del 1963", pp. 89-100; "Il concetto di politico", pp. 101-165.
Carl Schmitt Teoria del partigiano. Integrazione al concetto del politico Adelphi 2005

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam that will start with a presentation of a case-study (concept, event, fact, phenomenon etc.) freely chosen by the student and prepared by relying on the texts of the course. Further questions on the specific case-study or other notions included in the tests can be part of the exam.
For attending students: the preparation of the oral exam presentation can move from class discussions of themes and cases, and eventually from extra material given during lectures.
Active participation in class discussion and personal or group oral presentation in class contribute for 30% to the final vote.
For non-attending students:
The program is the same, including extra texts and material given during the course (available on the moodle platform of the course). The oral examination will be entirely based on the texts but can equally begin from a specific case-study (see above).