Contemporary Political Theory


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

Final year module

Lecturer: Dr Richard North

The aim of this module is to examine some of the most important and contested issues that animate contemporary politics. We shall approach the module by examining political problems through the prism of social justice. The aim of the module is to help us better understand the nature of social justice and its relationship with politics. The module will look a number of ethical problems in politics, including controversies relating to individual liberty, multiculturalism, the distribution of wealth and property, democracy and representative government and debates relating to prevailing injustices in modern societies. An examination of these issues through the texts of a number of important thinkers writing over the last thirty years or so will help us to understand and assess many of the complex debates in contemporary politics as well providing insight into how the idea of justice can clarify important policy issues and guide political action.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module the student should be able to: 

  • Critically reflect  upon and analyse moral and political problems;
  • Have developed an in depth knowledge of theoretical material and critically analyse with confidence;
  • Demonstrate an in depth understanding and critically analyse key bodies of thought, to address challenging questions of method;
  • Apply a deep understanding of the theoretical issues raised by contemporary politics.


  • 1 x 3hour exam (50%)
  • 1 x 3000 word essay (50%)

Related courses:

The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2018. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.