Understanding Politics

First year module

Lecturer: Dr Peter Kerr

This is an introductory course designed to familiarise students with a broad spectrum of theories, approaches and issues related to the concept of power and contemporary political ideas.

The aim is to provide students with a solid foundation of key skills and knowledge upon which they can build their own perspectives on a number of themes and issues which they are likely to encounter over the course of their degree programme.

The course is divided into two main parts – the first part looks at different conceptions of politics and power, whilst the second half of the course examines a number of contemporary ideas and political issues.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a familiarity with a broad spectrum of theories, approaches and issues related to the concept of power and contemporary political ideas.
  • Distinguish between major theories of power, politics and the state and link these to issues of contemporary political debate.
  • Identify broad trends in the development of political ideas and analytical approaches to the study of politics and power.

Assessment

  • Term Two: 1 x 2,000 words summative assessed work (50%)
  • Term Three: 2 hour examination (50%)