Totalitarianism And The State (Political Ideas B)

School: School of Government and Society
Department of Political Science and International Studies

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%

Related modules:

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.