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Unit information: Political Concepts in 2013/14

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Unit name Political Concepts
Unit code POLI11101
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Brooke
Open unit status Open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This unit provides an introduction to political theory by analysing key political concepts. It introduces students to normative debates surrounding key concepts including power, the state, freedom, equality, justice, democracy, citizenship, human rights and difference. The contestability of these political concepts is explored. Students are introduced to key texts in political theory, including the work of Thomas Hobbes, J.S. Mill and John Rawls. The unit also explores the ways in which political concepts relate to political realities.

Aims:

  • To provide an introduction to political theory.
  • To analyse key political concepts such as power, the state, freedom, equality, justice, democracy, citizenship, human rights and difference.
  • To analyse key political texts, including selected writings of Thomas Hobbes, J.S. Mill and John Rawls.
  • To explore the ways in which political concepts relate to political realities.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Describe the content of key political concepts.
  • Explain and discuss various conceptualizations of key political concepts including power, political obligation, freedom, equality, justice, gender, democracy, citizenship, and human rights.
  • Analyse and compare the writings of some key political theorists.
  • Construct articulate, concise and persuasive arguments in written essays, which integrate theoretical and empirical materials.

Both the summative essay and the unseen exam will assess the extent to which students have achieved all four of these outcomes.

Teaching details

2 hours of lectures and 1 hour seminar.

Assessment Details

  • 1,500 word essay 40%
  • unseen exam 60%

Reading and References

Hoffman, J. and P. Graham (2009) Introduction to Political Theory. Harlow: Pearson Education. Heywood, A. (2004) Political Theory: An Introduction Basingstoke: Palgrave. Swift, A. (2006) Political Philosophy: A Beginners' Guide for Students and Politicians Cambridge. Wolff, J. (2006) An Introduction to Political Philosophy Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Swift, A. (2001) Political Philosophy: A Beginners' Guide for Students and Politicians Oxford: Polity.

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