At CAPPE we ask what constitutes violence and what renders violence morally objectionable.
Stemming from Prof Bob Brecher's 'Violence and Moral Philosophy', in ed. P. Sturmey, The Wiley Handbook of Violence and Aggression (2017), the theme sets itself the task of attempting to work through two interrelated issues that receive comparatively little explicit attention in the philosophical literature.
- First, what constitutes violence and how does violence differ from other forms of the (ab)use of power?
- Second, and given an adequate answer to the initial question, what is it about the exercise of violence that renders it morally objectionable (at least generally)?
So far, it has become clear that the first question is not a definitional issue; and that it is connected in complex ways with
- the fact that human beings are embodied and
- that our embodiment is a necessary condition of the exercise of rationality (to which violence may or may not be inimical).
Organised workshops and symposia help us formulate a characterisation of violence sufficiently broad but not hopelessly so on the basis of which to pursue the question of the nature of its wrongfulness.
Contact Ian Sinclair I.A.Sinclair@brighton.ac.uk
This theme proposes ‘Just Peace’ as a critique of existing ‘Just War’ theory to examine role nonviolent means can play in preventing conflict and protecting civilians from ongoing atrocity.
We ask, what can the international community do to help protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity?
Existing thinking on civilian protection emphasises the use of military means, asking whether and when military intervention is justified in the name of protecting victims of atrocity.
The alternatives CAPPE proposes builds on Dr Robin Dunford and Dr Michael Neu’s collaborative work, published as Just War and the Responsibility to Protect: A Critique (Zed Books) and ‘The Responsibility to Protect in a World of Already-Existing Intervention (European Journal of International Relations), creating a research network that reflects on civilian protection from a different starting point 'Just peace'.
Building on renewed pacifist thinking and emerging work on the legitimacy and effectiveness of nonviolence, this new framework relates not only to “post” conflict settings, but also to the role nonviolent means can play in preventing conflict and protecting civilians from ongoing atrocity.
The network involves over 20 academics from Australia, New Zealand, Lebanon, the USA, Canada, Germany and the UK.
Contact Robin Dunford.
Radical political movements
Researchers work with academics and activists across disciplinary boundaries to ask what roles social movements can and do play in society.
What roles do social movements play in society? What constitutes radicalism in contemporary politics? How is radical resistance practiced across lines of gender, race and class? And how have power holders responded to these mobilisations?
These wide-ranging questions lie at the centre of the Social Movements and Radical Politics theme, which brings together researchers and activists across disciplinary boundaries both within and beyond the University of Brighton.
Since 2014, this project has hosted a “work-in-progress” seminar series that runs through the year and provides space for close discussion of a pre-circulated paper.
For further information please contact Francesca Burke or Deanna Dadusc.
Affordability, inequality and the experience of the private rented sector in Britain, 1938-2020
This theme investigates the causes and consequences of declining affordability in the private rented sector and assesses how tenure has contributed to deepening inequalities across lines of social class, household structure, gender, ethnicity and generational cohort.
It reanalyses household budget surveys to provide estimates of housing affordability from 1938, enabling analysis of the evolution of private rented sector across a number of different policy environments: the ad hoc solutions developed after the First World War; the social democratic settlement; the retrenchment of the 1970s; Thatcherism; New Labour; and the policy response to the financial crisis of 2008.
The research aims to benefit contemporary policymakers by helping them understand the context in which previous decisions were made and provide the evidence to evaluate a range of policy options, focusing on a case study of the city of Brighton and Hove and providing essential evidence for local policymakers and community organisations to address the current affordability crisis in the city.
This work was developed through a series of participatory community workshops hosted by the University of Brighton in 2018 and works in collaboration with the Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust and in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council. By hosting a series of symposiums, researchers are creating an international network of researchers working in partnership with their communities to address housing issues in their localities.
Read the Housing Forum blog.
Contact Dr Rebecca Searle
The Radical Sixties theme seeks to decentre the established Western loci of “the Sixties” from the standpoint of transnational solidarity, with and across the global south.
It builds on recent efforts to revisit, expand and complicate the spatiality and temporality of the radical sixties and calls for new analyses of this critical historical conjuncture from the standpoint of transnational solidarity, with and across the global south.
It is primarily concerned with how solidarity constituted a nodal theme for radical Left politics, anti-imperialist and anticolonial liberation struggles in the long 1960s (late 1950s to mid-1970s). In particular, researchers seek to explore how solidarity was expressed in new discursive and aesthetic modes of transnational dissent and carried through the circulatory practices of radical cultures and militant subjectivities.
An interdisciplinary approach is essential for this project’s ambition and is reflected in the participation of three of the University of Brighton's research centres: Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics (CAPPE); Centre for Design History (CDH); and Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories (CMNH).
Contact Dr Zeina Maasri
Gayness In queer times
Organised in collaboration with the Centre For Transforming Sexuality and Gender (CTSG), this theme seeks to reconsider the meaning and potential of ‘gay’ and ‘gayness’ in ostensibly ‘queer times’.
In contemporary scholarly work around sexuality and sexual identity, queer appears to have achieved a hegemonic status. Over the past decade the articulation of theory or politics that is explicitly gay (rather than queer or LGBTQ) has often been attached to limiting, exclusionary, and oppressive practices, particularly regarding race and gender.
As an unsurprising result, in both academia and activism ‘gay’ is frequently framed as the normative, assimilationist, and exclusionary past to queer’s fluid, radical, and inclusive present and future. Yet critically engaging with what gay and queer mean (or could mean) nowadays can be elided precisely because of this problematic juxtaposition.
While in many ways this research broadly aligns with queer thought, it is sceptical of knee-jerk tendencies to unquestioningly surrender gay to a politics of exclusion and neoliberal assimilationism. The theme seeks to challenge and interrogate assumptions of how gay can be known and conceptualised, beyond conflation with / reduction to homosexuality.
Contact Ian Sinclair I.A.Sinclair@brighton.ac.uk