Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16 Hours (16 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours (8 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar Performance  10%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay in lieu of exam, if exam element failed  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay, if essay element failed  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,000 word assignment, in lieu of seminar performance  10%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
- have a grasp of the main themes of the history of political thought
- be acquainted with three or more political ideologies
- be acquainted with some of the key 20th century thinkers
- be able to evaluate an original text in political theory

  • be capable of putting forward and appraising a political argument.

Brief description

This module provides an introduction to the history of political theory and a close analysis of specific ideas and thinkers.


These are the anticipated lecture topics:

1. Political Theory and its history
2. Machiavelli's The Prince
3. Modern political theory - Hobbes and sovereign power
4. John Locke and liberal political theory
4. Rousseau - the social contract theory continued
6. Liberalism and Utilitarianism - John Stuart Mill, James Mill & Bentham
7. Conservatism - Edmund Burke and Michael Oakeshott
8. Fascism - is there a coherent ideology as exemplified in the work of Carl Schmitt?
9. Anarchism - Bakunin, Godwin and Kropotkin
10. Feminism - Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan Moller Okin and Martin Mussbaum.
11. Socialism - the utopian socialists versus Marx
12. Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil
13. Foucault - Post-modern Politics
14. Habermas - a universal dialogue?
15. Rawls - The Search for Justice
16. Political Theory and its Future.


The aims of this course are to introduce the student to the use and critical appraisal of some of the principal texts in the history of political thought. This will be done through the study of key classical and 20th century writers, and the investigation of a number of ideologies such as liberalism, nationalism, conservatism, fascism, socialism, feminism and anarchism.

Transferable skills

This module will provide the opportunity for students to develop their oral, intellectual and communication skills. In the lectures emphasis will be placed on understanding, following the argument and summarizing it concisely. In the seminars emphasis will be placed on developing clear, cogent and persuasive arguments. The seminars offer the opportunity for students to show independent reasoning and judgment. Essay writing will encourage students to carry out research on their own initiative and to develop their IT presentation skills. The examination will test knowledge retention, comprehension and skills of analysis under conditions of time constraint.

10 ECTS credits

Reading List

Goodwin, Barbara. (c2007.) Using political ideas /Barbara Goodwin. 5th ed. Wiley Primo search Hoffman, John (2006.) Introduction to political theory /John Hoffman, Paul Graham. Pearson Longman Primo search Williams, Howard (1992.) International relations in political theory /Howard Williams. Open University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6