Politics and Power

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 17 January 2022
Friday 25 March 2022
06 May 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA L2CH Social Sciences,
BA LFCH Social Sciences,
BSC LL20 Politics with Data Science,
BSC LL21 Politics with Data Science,
BSC LL22 Politics with Data Science

Module description

We study some fundamental texts of the `Western` philosophical tradition and seek to examine the assumptions underlying these texts as well as the implications they have for us today.

We will explore profound themes such as class, freedom, violence, the meanings of labour and gender, and the effects of modern, mass society on the individual. We will locate these texts in their respective historical contexts to better understand them as political acts. That is, these authors were responding to their particular contexts and trying to effect change. Our purpose in engaging with these texts is not to canonize them; rather, it is to understand their contribution to the history of the western world – for better or for worse.

Module aims

1. To introduce students to critics of liberalism and to stimulate interest in the topic

2. To familiarise students with key concepts in modern political theory and with debates that surround these concepts.

3. To equip students with the understanding of the relevance of political theory to the study of politics. These are not esoteric texts; they are profound political acts with current relevance.

Module learning outcomes

The concepts and debates taught in this module constitute the bread and butter issues of politics. Anyone interested in politics and related fields should therefore find the content of value both as a citizen, and across numerous professions, including positions in the law, and with NGOs, think tanks, political parties, and the civil services.

If a student’s specialisation is in empirical political science, the normative study of politics develops students’ sense of which empirical questions and topics are morally important and why. Thus, the course is useful for students preparing to undertake postgraduate research in political science.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

1x weekly pre-recorded lecture +1x weekly interactive lecture


  • Estranged Labour, https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/labour.htm
  • Mitchell Cohen. (2018) 'Wretched of the Earth', in Princeton Readings of Political Thought: Princeton University Press.
  • Foucault, Michel. (1979) Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
  • Barbara Arneil. (no date) 'Disability, Self Image, and Modern Political Theory Abstract', in Political Theory.
  • King, Martin Luther. (2018) 'Letter from Birmingham Jail', in Princeton Readings in Political Thought: Essential Texts from Plato to Populism, Woodstock, UK: Princeton University Press., pp.621-631
  • Marx, Karl; Engels, Frederick; Moore, Samuel. (1968) 'Manifesto of the Communist Party', in Selected works, Moscow: Progress Publishing., pp.98-137
  • (no date) The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Genealogy of Morals, by Friedrich Nietzsche..
  • Wollstonecraft, Mary. (2018) 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman', in Princeton readings in political thought: essential texts from Plato to populism, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Online Test 1    60% 
Coursework   Online Test 2    40% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Laura Montanaro, email: lmonta@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Laura Montanaro
Module Supervisor: Dr Montanaro, lmonta@essex.ac.uk Module Administrator: Nicola Rowley, govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 325 hours, 20 (6.2%) hours available to students:
305 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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