Module descriptions for Politics

  • As courses are reviewed regularly the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.

  • Introduction to Politics
    An investigation of the nature of political study and of politics through examination of political behaviour (processes of political socialisation, the nature of political culture and the ways in which individuals participate in a democratic society) and the role of ideas and ideologies in informing individual and collective behaviour.

    Politics in Comparative Perspective
    This module examines and compares the nature of democratic politics, including governmental institutions and political processes, in a number of systems including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the USA and the European Union. 

    Political Thought 1
    A historical and critical examination of political thought and international theory, beginning with Machiavelli and concluding with Bentham. Students will reflect on how historic theories of international and national politics are to be understood and assessed conceptually.

    Political Thought 2
    This develops from Political Thought 1, beginning with Kant and concluding with de Beauvoir. Specific theorists such as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche and de Beauvoir will be examined and general themes such as gender, sovereignty and the end of history in relation to the politics of states and the international arena will be investigated.

    Researching Politics and International Relations I: Analytical Modes
    The aim of this module is to locate political science and international relations with reference to debates about the nature of social science, so that students may begin to make informed choices about their own modes of inquiry. Students will be introduced to debates about the nature of ‘the political’ (ontology), what we can know about it (epistemology) and how different modes of inquiry are derived from these debates.

    Researching Politics and International Relations II: Methods

    Introduces students to the ideas underpinning the design and conduct of research in politics and international relations, starting with the big questions of ‘what exists?’ and ‘how can we know about what exists?’ before moving to consider the practice and implications of different research methods.

    The Global Political Economy

    Examines the global economic order and the interaction of economics and politics in shaping world affairs. The module is divided into two parts. Part one offers a historical overview, and a range of theoretical tools through which to understand recent changes in the world economy. Part two looks at a number of substantive debates by discussing how politics and economics are entwined in the areas of production, finance, and trade.

    Global Governance and Civil Society
    The module examines the web of governance structures in a world no longer dominated by state actors. It explores the changing ‘architectures’ of statist governance and the variety of inter- and trans-societal, as well as global structures and processes.

    Understanding Europe: History, Culture and Political Economy

    This module explores what we mean by ‘Europe’ from the perspectives of current scholarship. It draws on a variety of disciplinary insights into the history, culture, political economy and boundaries of Europe in a period marked both by powerful integrative and disintegrative forces.

    Russia and East Europe after Lenin 

    Explores the attempt to build a radical alternative political, social and economic model in Europe during the 20th century. The module will be substantively concerned with questions of state-building, governance, security and legitimacy in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Taking a comparative approach to the region, students will consider the appropriateness of Western concepts for understanding the political system, particularly socialism, totalitarianism, pluralism and democracy.

    American Politics and Society
    An analysis of the governmental and political institutions in the United States, the policy-making process, and contemporary issues in American politics.

    Modern British Politics
    An analysis of contemporary British politics and the wider movements contributing to the making of modern British politics, and an assessment and evaluation of political change in Britain within a global and historical context.

    Democracy, Autocracy and Regime Change
    This module explores the theoretical approaches to regime change and regime consolidation and their relevance to real life cases. It will first acquaint students with the complex concepts of (various forms of) democracy and (various forms of) authoritarianism, before introducing them to competing structure and process-driven explanations of regime change. It will offer a critical perspective on the notion of regime change as a linear progression from authoritarianism to democracy by providing illustrations of other regime trajectories. From here it will go on to evaluate the impact of globalisation on both 'consolidated democracies' and on regimes that are generally considered to be non-democracies. Finally, it will focus more concretely on carefully selected real life cases from three regions within which there is especially large divergence in regime types: the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.



    Poverty, Inequality and the Politics of Welfare
    This module offers an exploration into the past and future of the welfare states in advanced industrial economies. It looks at the theoretical approaches to welfare and the ways in which welfare can be analysed and categorised in political science.

    Political Sociology of Crime and Disorder 

    This module will explore contemporary issues in the politics and sociology of crime, disorder and control. This will include an overview of some of the key theories and theorists and current practices of crime and social order. The aim of the module is to provide students with an understanding of the key debates and issues in relation to crime and disorder, the sociological analysis and understanding of these issues and an opportunity to explore the politics of crime, disorder and social control.

    Violence, Resistance and Identity Politics 
    This course probes the links between identity as a localised practice and globalised forms of domination, exclusion and violence. It explores a wide range of foundational and contemporary literature from international relations, feminist, postcolonial and poststructural theory to ask questions about the ways in which particular bodies are raced, classed, gendered and sexualized, and the personal/political implications of this.

    Freedom, Justice and Political Theory 

    An examination of key political concepts, freedom, justice, and the community, taking account of affiliated concepts including rights and equality. In considering these concepts, differing theoretical treatments of them will be related to the roles they play in the practical world of politics.

    South African Politics: From Apartheid to Democracy

    This module will provide students with a detailed examination of the political economy of South Africa. It begins with an analysis of the legacy of South Africa’s history before surveying some of the key issues in the political economy of post-apartheid South Africa. It assesses the links between the historical legacies of apartheid and the unique nature of some of the problems encountered in South Africa today.

    Global Environmental Politics

    This module is concerned with the global environmental issues in a broad, interdisciplinary framework. Beginning with an investigation into the international legal and institutional apparatus for dealing with environmental issues, it goes on to consider the wider socio-cultural and ideological aspects, as well as the global political economy of environmental governance and sustainable development.

    Central Asia in Global Politics: Beyond Oil and Islam
    This module examines Central Asia’s domestic post-Soviet development within the context of its geostrategic importance to international actors. It will explore issues central to the region’s development including nation-building, conflict and revolution, political Islam, the political economy of oil, transnational organised crime and ‘great’ power play in the region.

    Dissertation in Politics (Double Honours)
    This module provides the opportunity for independent research under supervision. Students choose a dissertation topic under advice from staff in the International Relations field.

    Postcolonial Perspectives on Western Culture and Politics

    This module sheds light on how Western culture and politics rely on the construction of particular narratives about people in the postcolonial world. The module will highlight the diffuse nature of what constitutes ‘oppression’, and will show how what we ‘think’ about other people matters for how we understand ourselves, as well as our own culture and politics.

    Independent Study in Politics

    Offers students the opportunity to undertake independent study and research under supervision. Students can submit a proposal for independent study, and provided that supervision is available, an agreed programme of work and assessment schedule is constructed.