Totalitarianism And The State (Political Ideas B)

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: Term 2
Teaching: 2 hour seminar weekly

Lecturer: Richard Shorten

The course is focused around the study of Totalitarianism and the State in the context of modern political ideas. It is organised both historically and thematically. Historically, it traces developments in theories and interpretations of totalitarianism across the twentieth century, from Hannah Arendt through to Michel Foucault.  Thematically, the course examines, in turn, the origins of fascism and of communism; the role of rationality in totalitarian regimes; perspectives on evil in politics; the concept of political religion; and the notion of the modern, surveillance state.

On completion of this module, students should be able:

  • To describe and identify a range of theoretical positions and arguments concerning the nature of totalitarianism and of the modern State
  • To evaluate the coherence of those positions and arguments
  • To apply their implications to broader issues and approaches in the study of political and social life


  • Term two 1 x 5000 word Essay 100%

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