Discuss violence is a mundane, everyday part of our lives. So much so we are largely immune to its consequences.

• Select two (2) theorists from the list provided

• Select a topic for discussion (see below)

• Construct a dialogue of at least 2700 words in length between these theorists. This conversation should explore various aspects of the topic chosen in ways that reflect the thinkers’ theoretical positions. One reflects these thinkers’ positions by directly referring to works written by those theorists.

• You will need at least ten (10) references (other than the Elliott text) to do well in this task

The paper you submit for assessment should resemble a script in which each of the participants is identified each time they have something to contribute to the conversation. A dialogue suggests a relatively equal exchange of ideas between participants. It should not be a monologue in which one participant dominates the conversation. Your mark will reflect, in part, your willingness and capacity to construct an exchange between the participants who all make roughly equal contributions.

Each of the thinkers would be expected to make reference to their own work, and the work of other authors during the course of the conversation. These references should be referenced as in any other essay/report (Harvard referencing system would be most appropriate for this task).


Michel Foucault, Anthony Giddens, Erving Goffman, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Christopher Lasch, Nancy Chodorow, Judith Butler, Jean Baudrillard, Zygmunt Bauman,Ulrich Beck, Elizabeth Beck-Gernshiem, Slavoj Zizek, John Urry.


‘At the forefront of our minds, the obvious signals of violence are acts of crime and terror, civil unrest, international conflict. But we should learn to step back, to disentangle ourselves from the fascinating lure of this directly visible ‘subjective’ violence, violence performed by a clearly identifiable agent. We need to perceive the contours of the background which generates such outbursts. A step back enables us to identify a violence that sustains our very efforts to fight violence and to promote tolerance’.

Slavoj Zizek (2008), Violence: Six Sideways Reflections, Profile Books, London, p. 1.

Discuss the following:

Violence is a mundane, everyday part of our lives. So much so we are largely immune to its consequences.

INSTRUCTION: Dialogue task

Step 1 Forget it is a dialogue

Step 2 Think of it as a ‘critically discuss the following…’ activity

Step 3 Identify issues – discuss on Moodle

Step 4 Do some research on issues, gather evidence, explore what others have had to say about issues

Step 5 Think about concepts (eg, reflexive self, narcissism, gender systems, technologies of the self, knowledge/power/subjects, cosmopolitanism, fundamentalism, repressed self, etc…) that would be useful for analysing, discussing issues

Step 6 Who are the key thinkers from list that use these issues

Step 7 Up until this point it is like any essay – then think of it as a dialogue – What devices or techniques (narrator, moderator, scene setting, etc) can you use to structure discussion between theorists

Step 8 Hand it in on time


Sigmund Freud and Michel Foucault are having a conversation, as they do on most Tuesdays, in a small café in Paris. As happens on most days that they get together the conversation has turned to a significant social issue . On this day a recent public debate about marriage, divorce, reproductive technologies and new forms of living arrangements have provoked them to think about why an individual might continue to make an intimate, long term commitment to another individual. They wonder if these concerns mean that the very idea of couples, of being part of a couple, has any future…

Sigmund Freud and Michel Foucault are guests on Tomorrow Today, a top rating current affairs program on Channel 59. Host Kent Brockman has invited these leading thinkers to appear on his show to discuss whether making a commitment to an intimate, long term relationship with another person has any future – given that marriage appears to be in decline, divorce rates are increasing, and reproduction is no longer something that needs to occur in a hetero-sexual, monogamous relationship.

Kent: Thank you gentlemen…

Foucault: I agree Sigmund. I was reading a book by Anthony Giddens the other day and he was claiming that we are seeing the emergence of a new form of relationship that he calls the ‘pure relationship’. According to Giddens this is a form of relationship that : ‘is entered into for its own sake, for what can be derived by each person from a sustained association with another; and which is continued only in so far as it is thought by both parties to deliver enough satisfactions for each individual to stay within’ (Giddens 1994, p58). Now, if this is true, and I think it offers us some interesting ways to think about the future of couples, then I think it raises some real challenges for how we should practise our freedom in relationships . As I have said elsewhere when I was trying to think about power, freedom and liberation: ‘Isn’t the problem rather that of defining the practices of freedom by which one could define what is sexual pleasure and erotic, amorous and passionate relationships with others?’ (Foucault 2000, p.283).

Freud: Michel, you make an interesting point, but…

The most common mistakes in this dialogue from previous years:

Not using the original works of the theorists chosen

Not referencing well

Not using a sufficient range of sources

Not relating the theory to practical considerations

(incredibly) not writing enough words or using enough sources

At least 2700 words

10 sources, other than Elliott, to do well in this assignment

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