module specification

GI5009 - Political Theory (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Political Theory
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 310
94 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
216 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Either a class presentation (written outline to be submitted) or a short essay (1000 -1200 words) in response to set que
Coursework 20%   Short written essay (1000-1200 words) in response to set questions
Coursework 60%   Long essay (3000- 4000 words) in response to set questions
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

To understand the relevance of political theory to politics and international relations
To understand the different approaches to justifying and criticising political action
To explore the development of political ideas and theories
To develop an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of current political issues
To encourage students to develop transferable skill in analysis of texts and ideas, articulation of arguments, and presentation of research findings, as well as academic reading and writing.


Renaissance and Modernity: including Machiavelli and Christine de Pisan;
Rethinking the State: including Thomas Hobbes and John Locke; Enlightenment:  including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Paine, Thomas Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft;
Liberal Democracy:  including the Mills;
Revolution: including Peter Kroptkin, Emma Goldman and Karl Marx;
20th century: including Isaiah Berlin and John Rawls;
Political movements: including feminism nationalism and environmentalism. LO1,LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Each student has 3 contact hours per week over 30 weeks: a two-hour interactive lecture and one hour seminar. Students are expected to undertake a further 9 hours per week of preparation and private study.
Discussion and debate is central to the module, hence, participation in lecture-time is encouraged as well as participative seminars. Student presentations may be included in seminars.
Research and writing skills are encouraged through classes devoted to practising writing and feedback on writing, as well as the inclusion of writing tasks that are excluded from the final module classification.
Blended learning is achieved through the use of weblearn to suggest on-line resources and activities as well as providing sources for research and writing support, lecture notes, and feedback on assessments.
Employability is addressed through the development of analytical abilities, presentation skills, research and writing practice and encouragement of the ability to think and argue clearly.
Two weeks of the year are committed to centralised enhancement activities.

Learning outcomes

1. Understanding of the development of political thought from early modernity, the 15th century, to the 20th century, covering both influential writers and key concepts
2. Appreciation of the relevance of political theory to the study of politics and international relations
3. Ability to construct an argument using appropriate texts
4. Ability to present and defend an argument
5. Development of oral and written presentation skills


(Please note: No particular year of publication is given here as political theory texts and textbooks do not change significantly from one year to the next)


David Bouchier and Paul Kelly eds Political Thinkers
Dryzek, Honig and Phillips, The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory,
Barbara Goodwin, Using Political Ideas,
Iain Hampshire-Monk, Modern Political Thought
Alan Haworth, Understanding the Political Philosophers
Andrew Heywood, Political Theory,


Caroline Cahm, Kropotkin and the Rise of Revolutionary Anarchism
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
John Clarke, The Philosophical Anarchism of William Godwin
Norman Barry, Modern Political Theory,
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
Paul Kelly, British Political Theory in the Twentieth Century,
Ruth Kinna, Anarchism, a beginners guide
Dudley Knowles, Political Philosophy
Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid
John Locke, The Second Treatise
David McLellan, The Thought of Karl Marx: an introduction
Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince
Nicolo Machiavelli, The Discourses
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx, The German Ideology
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
  The Subjection of Women
David Miller, Anarchism
Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man
Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract
   The Discourse on Inequality
Barbara Taylor, Mary Wollstonecraft and the feminist Imagination
Harriet Taylor, The Enfranchisement of Women
Andrew Vincent, Political Theory
Nigel Warburton, Jon Pike and Derek Matravers, Reading Political Philosophy
Sheldon Wolin, Politics and Vision
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
George Woodcock, Anarchism: a history of libertarian ideas and movements