Politics as a Vocation

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

First year module

Lecturer: Dr Laura Jenkins

In his famous essay, 'Politics as a Vocation', Max Weber argues, "There are two ways of making politics one's vocation: Either one lives 'for' politics or one lives 'off' politics". In a contemporaneous essay, 'Science as a Vocation', he argues that it is the duty of the lecturer not to impose his or her views on students but to teach them to recognise ‘inconvenient’ facts. Inspired by these essays, this module introduces students both to a wide range of (possible) political vocations and to important political science research so that students can begin to reflect upon crucial political vocations and the way in which to approach their study.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Explain what a range of political vocations entail
  • Demonstrate an understanding of some of the reasons why political scientists are interested in the vocations covered on the module
  • Exhibit familiarity with prominent strands of academic research which focus on the vocations covered on the module

Assessment (from 2018-19)

  • 1 x 1000 mid- term briefing paper (25%)
  • 1 x 3000 essay (75%)

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.