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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Politics Short Name: POL101
Level: HE1 Module Co-ordinator: USHERWOOD S Dr (Politics)
Number of credits: 20 Number of ECTS credits: 10
Module Availability
1 x lecture per week
1 x seminar per fortnight
Assessment Pattern

Components of Assessment
Percentage weighting
Essay (1500 words)
Portfolio (2000 words or equivalent)

Module Overview


Module Aims
This introductory module seeks to:
  • Identify the essential characteristics of politics and the state, in a national and international context.
  • Outline the development of political structures.
  • Comment on political systems.
  • Provide the theoretical foundations for the study of international relations.
  • Identify key issues and trends in national and international politics.
  • Develop the basic techniques and knowledge necessary to pursue further study in the field of political science.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module students will be able to:
  • Identify key features of contemporary political dynamics and state structures.
  • Show awareness of key theoretical approaches to the study of international relations.
  • Evaluate the impact of political trends on national and international politics.
  • Identify and evaluate key concepts in the fields of political science and international relations.
  • Show awareness of the impact of historical trends on current political structures at the national and international level.
By the end of the module students will have acquired the following skills:
Cognitive Skills
  • Analytical skills.
  • Synthesis and evaluation.
  • Reflection of own learning experience.
  • Application of theoretical approaches to the analysis of political trends.
Transferable skills
  • Writing and presentation skills.
  • IT skills.
  • Self-organisation.
Practical skills
  • Time management.
Module Content
General Synopsis
This module provides a general introduction to the study of politics and international relations. It seeks to provide students with a general overview of key concepts, structures and theoretical debates at the heart of these two disciplines. It looks at the links between national and international politics and encourages students to think critically about social, political and economic trends. 
Introduction – This part of the module seeks to introduce students to the study of politics and international relations by presenting an overview of the key features of each discipline.
  • What is politics?
  • History of the state.
  • What is International Relations?
  • Evolution of international relations as a discipline.
Concepts and structures – This part of the module looks at key concepts and structures within contemporary politics.
  • Ideological space.
  • Structure of the state.
  • Key structures of government.
  • The policy process.
  • Political parties and the electoral system.
Key issues in contemporary politics: Democracy – This part of the module looks to evaluate the development of the ideal of democracy in contemporary politics.
  • Ideals of Modern Democracy.
  • Practice of Modern Democracy.
  • Process and Change.
Approaches to the study of International Relations – this part of the module seeks to provide students with a theoretical framework for the study of international relations.
  • Traditional approaches: realism and liberalism.
  • New approaches to international relations.
Key issues in International Relations today – This part of the module problematises current trends and issues in the field of international politics.
  • The present and future of the state in the international system.
  • Regionalism and the hollowing of the state.
  • New forms of conflict and security.
  • Social cleavages and Identity: the personal is international.
  • The politics of the global economy.
Methods of Teaching/Learning

Lectures, seminars, debates & discussions, presentations, independent learning.

Selected Texts/Journals
Baylis, J. & Smith, S. (2004) The Globalization of World Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Duncan, W.R. et al. (2006) World Politics in the 21st Century. Harlow: Longman Pearson.
Heywood, A. (2000) Key Concepts in Politics. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave.
Heywood, A. (2002) Politics (2nd ed.). Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave.
Huysmans, J. (2004) What is Politics? Edinburgh
Lawson, S. (2003) International Relations. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Leftwich, A. (2004) What is Politics? The Activity and Its Study. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Steans, J. and Pettiford, L. (2005) Introduction to International Relations: Perspectives and Themes. Harlow: Pearson Longman
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