POLS6012 Theories & Concepts of Politics
Course Code: POLS6012
Course Tutor: Dr John Filling (Department of Political Science)
Length: One term (Spring Term)
Teaching: 20 hours lectures/seminars
Assessment: Two 2,000 word essays (40/60%)
Credits: 0.5 course units, 4 (US) 7.5 (ECTS)
About this course
This course aims to introduce students to the main concepts and theories employed (i) by political actors to justify their behaviour and (ii) by political analysts to explain and evaluate political acts, systems and policies. It is a course in normative political theory rather than political science or the history of political thought. As such it complements, rather than is a rival to, existing courses in these areas offered by Philosophy, History and a number of other departments. By attending the course, students will familiarize themselves with key political concepts and ideologies, including: freedom, equality, rights, authority, democracy, liberalism, socialism, feminism and green ideology. Questions addressed during the course include: What is a free society? Are human beings morally equal? Do citizens have a duty to obey the law of their state? Why is democracy valuable? Is socialism compatible with individual freedom? Is the family a 'political' institution? Does the environment have moral standing?
By the end of the course, students should have attained:
- a clear grasp of certain key theories and concepts in political theory;
- knowledge of some of the main debates surrounding these theories and concepts;
- an ability to critically analyse, compare and deploy these theories and concepts.