Module Identifier IP31020  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Professor Jenny Edkins  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Lecture   11 Hours (11 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 Hours (10 x hour)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Essay: 1,500 words  20%
Semester Assessment Assignment: 1 x 4,500 words  70%
Semester Assessment Seminar Performance  10%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
By the end of the course, students should be able to:

- demonstrate a good understanding of approaches described as postmodern or post-structural
- discuss some of the political questions raised by this work
- demonstrate a familiarity with key post-structuralist writers, based on a direct reading of their texts

10 ECTS credits

Brief description

Research inspired by post-modern or post-structuralist approaches forms a challenging contribution to recent international relations, political theory and postcolonialism. There are two linked modules that explore this field. This first module, which is introductory, looks at the writings of thinkers associated with the move. There are no prerequisites, apart from a willingness to read in depth and engage with the material.


The module allows students to develop a thorough critical appreciation and understanding of poststructural and psychoanalytic work through a reading of primary writings. It concentrates on giving a flavour of the excitement of these approaches, rather than examining the debates between postmodernism and its critics. Students who complete the module will be well placed to go on if they wish, to study scholars of international politics or postcolonialism who draw on this work.


The module begins with a brief examination of Freud, Saussure, feminist writers and Marx, and then focuses on three writers - Foucault, Derrida and Lacan. Lectures introducing key areas are accompanied by seminars based on careful readings of selected texts supported by extensive discussion. The lectures will include opportunities for questions and debate, and may also include group activities. Seminars will be student-led.

Transferable skills

This module deals with material that is very intellectually demanding and will help students develop keen analytical abilities, patience and perseverence.   During the seminars they will have the opportunity to learn how to facilitate group discussions, to practice their skills in explaining and discussing their own ideas, and to select material suitable for inclusion in discussion. The final written assignment demands individual initiative in researching a topic, finding material and producing a coherent written piece of some length.

10 ECTS credits

Reading Lists

Alan Sheridan Michael Foucault: The Will to Truth
Jonathan Culler On Deconstruction
Yannis Stavrakakis Lucan and the Political
Jenny Edkins Poststructuralism and International Relations


This module is at CQFW Level 6