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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Politics Short Name: POL301
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: SOBORSKI RW Dr (Politics)
Number of credits: 20 Number of ECTS credits: 10
Module Availability
Run once, throughout the year
Assessment Pattern

Components of Assessment
Percentage weighting
Essay (2000 words)  
Textual analysis
Formal exam (unseen paper) (2 hrs)  

Module Overview
PIPS Level 2
Module Aims
  • To introduce students to competing theoretical models of ideology and political mythology.
  • To work with neutral, inclusive models of ideology and political mythology.
  • To explore differing modes of ideological representation (discursive, iconic, ritual, etc.).
  • To consider the relationship between ideology, policy-formation, institutions and government.
  • To familiarise students with major currents of Western ideological thought.
  • To show the structure of each ideology, including its core values, beliefs and goals.
  • To define the features which distinguish different ideological currents from each other, and to consider the areas in which they overlap.
  • To train students in the understanding, description, comparison and analysis of sets of linked political concepts.
  • To encourage students to develop sufficient self-confidence to express themselves on abstract topics.
Learning Outcomes
Students will be expected to be able to:
  • Explain the part played by ideology in politics.
  • Define and compare different models of ideology and political mythology.
  • Analyse different types of ideological communication.
  • Analyse the distinctive features of different political ideologies as more or less coherent configurations of linked concepts.
Generic Learning Outcomes and Skills

Cognitive Skills
  • Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources.
  • Construct reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information and exercise critical judgement.
  • Reflect on their own learning and seek and make use of constructive feedback.
  • Apply theoretical frameworks to policy/empirical analysis.

Transferable Skills

  • Communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing.
  • Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organization and time-management.
  • Make appropriate use of information and communications technology.

Practical Skills          

  • Demonstrate their ability to present work orally, using visual aids where appropriate.
  • Employ relevant research skills.
Module Content
Part 1 sets out and illustrates a range of theoretical notions relating to the forms and functions of ideology, political myth, political iconography and other symbolic vehicles of political meanings:
  • Ideology: an essentially contested concept.
  • Critical, exclusive versus neutral, inclusive models of ideology.
  • Defining a synthetic, communicative approach.
  • Structures of political ideologies.
  • Functions of political ideologies.
  • Ideology, party policy, government.
  • Ideology as discourse.
  • Political myth (1): truth and falsehood.
  • Political myth (2): creating historical meaning.
  • Political signs: iconic, indexical and symbolic forms.
  • Political ritual.
Part 2 (applies the theoretical understanding gathered in Part 1 to a number of major political ideologies which have shaped the goals of political actors in Western and other societies in the contemporary period).
  • Fascism, racism, anti-Semitism.
  • Neo-fascism, national populism.
  • Conservatism, neo-conservatism.
  • Classical liberalism, modern liberalism, social democracy.
  • Socialism, communism, neo-Marxism.
  • Anarchism, ecologism, antiglobalism. 
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Lectures, seminar presentations (by small groups), discussions, prescribed reading, independent learning.
Selected Texts/Journals
Clark, T. (1997) Art and Propaganda in the Twentieth Century. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Eatwell, R. & Wright, A. (2000) Contemporary Political Ideologies, 2nd ed. Continuum.
Flood, C. (2002) Political Myth. Routledge.
Freeden, M. (1996) Ideologies and Political Theory. Clarendon.
Freeden, M. (2003) Ideology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Goodwin, B. (1999) Using Political Ideas, 4th ed. Wiley.
Heywood, A. (2003) Political Ideologies. An Introduction, 3rd ed. Macmillan.
Thompson, J. (1984) Studies in the Theory of Ideology. Polity.
Vincent, A. (1995) Modern Political Ideologies, 2nd ed. Blackwell
Last Updated
13 September 2007