Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 3000 words essay  40%
Semester Assessment 5000 words essay  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Identify the different sociological, anthropological and political science approaches to the study of the state;
2. Discuss and analyse different issues associated with the study of the state, such as the role of space, memory, violence, law and expertise in the construction of the state;
3. Discuss and analyse different models of the global state and locate their theoretical assumptions and limitations;
4. Discuss and compare the different theoretical approaches through engaging specific examples of state practice.


This module adds to the Departmental Masters provision in the area of International Relations Theory and Postcolonial Politics. It complements existing modules and allows interested students to gain specialist knowledge of key issues and perspectives on the state in political sociology, anthropology and International Relations. This module aims to offer Masters students on the International Relations Theory and Postcolonial Politics schemes a second semester option.

Brief description

This module examines the major theoretical approaches to the state from a sociological, anthropological and political science perspective and relates them to contemporary developments in state practice and international politics.

It begins by reviewing and discussing the main theoretical perspectives in the literature known as state theory: Pluralist, Weberian, Marxist, Gramscian, Foucaultian and Postcolonial. It makes use of these theoretical approaches to look at specific issues through different lenses. For this purpose, the second part of the module engages issues of state practice, such as the role of memory, space, territory, violence, law and expertise in the construction of the state. It also discusses different models of the global state in an attempt to locate their theoretical assumptions and contextualise them within the literature on state theory.


1. What is the state? Main questions and concerns
2. Pluralist and Weberian perspectives
4. Marxist and Gramscian perspectives
5. Postcolonial and Foucaultian perspectives
6. Time, memory and the state
7. Space, territory and the state
8. Violence, law and the state
9. Expertise and the colonial state
10. Models of the global state
11. Revision

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as BIDS and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of two essays will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to adopt differing points of view, organize data and estimate an answer to the problem, reason logically, construct theoretical models, consider similar cases, look for patterns, and divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills The submission of two essays will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: * Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module; * Ability to evaluate competing perspectives; * Demonstrate subject specific research techniques; * Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems.
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such classroom debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.


This module is at CQFW Level 7