GV908-7-FY-CO:
Political Theory

The details
2020/21
Government
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Current
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
30
04 June 2020

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

MA L20512 Political Theory,
MA L205EB Political Theory

Module description

GV908 Political Theory is the core module for those taking the MA in Political Theory. It is also available to other postgraduate students as an option. GV908 will introduce MA student to some of the key topics and themes in the history of political thought and within contemporary political theory, and will embrace discussions in analytical political theory. The module aims to expose students to a variety of debates about the moral and political principles that regulate different areas of public policy. Students will be able to appraise arguments on different sides of a range of controversial political topics.

Module aims

Aims:
1. It introduces a range of ideas and concepts in analytical political theory.
2. It engages students in a series of close textual readings of selected essays, books and articles, with the aim of elucidating key concepts and ideas in public policy disputes.
3. It examines a number of central debates in contemporary political theory.
4. Students should be in a position to develop and execute a Masters Research Dissertation in political theory.

Module learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes:
1. To understand the normative dimensions of key policy controversies.
2. To introduce students to the work of major contemporary political theorists, including John Rawls, Robert Nozick, and G. A. Cohen.
3. To write clear analyses of contemporary policy controversies.

Module information

Module Description

GV908 Political Theory is the core module for those taking the MA in Political Theory. It is also available to other postgraduate students as an option. GV908 will introduce MA student to some of the key topics and themes in the history of political thought and within contemporary political theory, and will embrace discussions in analytical political theory. The module aims to expose students to a variety of debates about the moral and political principles that regulate different areas of public policy. Students will be able to appraise arguments on different sides of a range of controversial political topics.

Aims:
1. It introduces a range of ideas and concepts in analytical political theory.
2. It engages students in a series of close textual readings of selected essays, books and articles, with the aim of elucidating key concepts and ideas in public policy disputes.
3. It examines a number of central debates in contemporary political theory.
4. Students should be in a position to develop and execute a Masters Research Dissertation in political theory.

Objectives:
1. To give students the ability to understand the political implications of academic research.
2. To enable students to place the theoretical study of justice in the wider context of the social sciences.
3. To enable students to understand, critically to analyse, and to evaluate the normative elements of a range of public policy disputes.

Learning Outcomes:
1. To understand the normative dimensions of key policy controversies.
2. To introduce students to the work of major contemporary political theorists, including John Rawls, Robert Nozick, and G. A. Cohen.
3. To write clear analyses of contemporary policy controversies.

Key Skills:
1. Students will learn how: to identify the premises and conclusions of arguments; to determine whether the conclusions follow from the premises; and to understand the practical implications of theory.
2. Students will learn: to identify the different values at stake in a given public policy controversy; and to determine how to weigh conflicts between competing claims.
3. Students will learn: to apply reason to controversial issues; to read texts critically; to prepare well-argued essays; to learn both self-confidence and the ability to learn from others.

Module Structure and Teaching
The teaching is structured in weekly two-hour seminars. Members of the seminar are expected to attend on a weekly basis, and be prepared to discuss the essential texts in the seminars.

Assessment
Students are expected to write two essays.
Essay 1 should be no more than 4,000 words in length.
Essay 2 should be no more than 6,000 words in length.
For these essays, students must choose from the list of questions, which will be posted on Moodle shortly after the start of each term.

Study Abroad Assessment
The assessment for study abroad students will be the same as the assessment for home students on a term-by-term basis.



Learning and teaching methods

The teaching is structured in weekly two-hour seminars. Members of the seminar are expected to attend on a weekly basis, and be prepared to discuss the essential texts in the seminars.

Bibliography*

  • Liberto, Hallie¬†Rose. (2009-10) 'Normalizing Prostitution versus Normalizing the Alienability of Sexual Rights: A Response to Scott A. Anderson', in Ethics. vol. 120 (1) , pp.138-145
  • Wellman, Christopher¬†Heath. (2008-10) 'Immigration and Freedom of Association', in Ethics. vol. 119 (1) , pp.109-141
  • Dougherty, Tom. (2013-07) 'Sex, Lies, and Consent', in Ethics. vol. 123 (4) , pp.717-744
  • Kymlicka, Will. (1995) Multicultural citizenship: a liberal theory of minority rights, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Waldron, Jeremy. (2009) 'Dignity and Defamation: The Visibility of Hate', in Harvard Law Review. vol. 123 (7) , pp.1596-1657
  • Hellman, Deborah. (c2008) When is discrimination wrong?, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Scanlon, Thomas. (c2003) The difficulty of tolerance: essays in political philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wolff, Robert Paul. (1998) In defense of anarchism, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Alastair Norcross. (2004) 'Puppies, Pigs, and People: Eating Meat and Marginal Cases', in Philosophical Perspectives: Ridgeview Publishing Company. vol. 18, pp.229-245
  • Rawls, John. (1999) A theory of justice, Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  • Schulz, Johannes. (2019) 'Must Rhodes Fall? The Significance of Commemoration in the Struggle for Relations of Respect', in Journal of Political Philosophy. vol. 27 (2) , pp.166-186
  • Locke, John. (2016) Second treatise of government and a letter concerning toleration, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Peter Singer. (1972) 'Famine, Affluence, and Morality', in Philosophy & Public Affairs: Wiley. vol. 1, pp.229-243
  • Kieran J Oberman. (2015) 'Refugees and Economic Migrants: A Morally Spurious Distinction', in The Critique.
  • Andrew E. Shacknove. (1985) 'Who Is a Refugee?', in Ethics: The University of Chicago Press. vol. 95, pp.274-284
  • Mill, John Stuart; Ryan, Alan. (2006) On liberty: and, The subjection of women, London: Penguin.
  • Nozick, Robert. (1974) Anarchy, state, and Utopia, Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Laborde, Cecile. (2005) 'Secular Philosophy and Muslim Headscarves in Schools', in Journal of Political Philosophy. vol. 13 (3) , pp.305-329
  • Timmerman, T. (2015-04-01) 'Sometimes there is nothing wrong with letting a child drown', in Analysis. vol. 75 (2) , pp.204-212
  • Dworkin, Ronald. (2000) Sovereign virtue: the theory and practice of equality, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  • Fine, Sarah. (2010-01) 'Freedom of Association Is Not the Answer', in Ethics. vol. 120 (2) , pp.338-356
  • Brennan, Jason. (2011) 'The Right to a Competent Electorate', in The Philosophical Quarterly. vol. 61 (245) , pp.700-724
  • Cohen, G. A. (1997) 'Where the Action is: On the Site of Distributive Justice', in Philosophy & Public Affairs. vol. 26 (1) , pp.3-30

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   Essay 1     35% 
Coursework   Essay 2    65% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Mollie Gerver, email: m.gerver@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Mollie Gerver
Module Supervisor Dr Mollie Gerver m.gerver@essex.ac.uk Module Administrator Jamie Seakens govpgquery@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
Yes
No
No

External examiner

Dr Patrick Bayer
University of Glasgow
Lecturer in International Relations
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 40 hours, 24 (60%) hours available to students:
16 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Government

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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