IR4006 - Thinking Politically

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What will I learn on this module?

The aim of the module is to introduce students to the main thinkers, ideas and debates within political philosophy and political theory. The module differentiates between the different branches of politics (i.e. political economy, political philosophy and theory, and political science) before examining the debates about human nature; the nature of society without government; the arguments for and against democracy; justifying the existence of the state and state rule; liberty; equality; how to produce and distribute the goods and services that society needs and desires; and social justice. Furthermore, it links these debates – and the ideas and theories that inform them – to a range of contemporary political ideologies and assesses the impact of these upon politics and society more generally.

How will I learn on this module?

The learning and teaching strategy will employ a variety of methods that are appropriate for Level 4 students. Directed learning will take the form of taught lectures in which the Module Tutor will set out the main topics, perspectives and debates, thus providing a framework for the student’s independent learning. These will be augmented by student-led seminars – small-group sessions that draw upon the student’s reading, review the existing literature, survey the historical and contemporary debates, and encourage critical thinking.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Via a module handbook with details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides made available on the e-learning portal; feedback during seminar sessions; opportunities to seek personalized support after lectures, seminars and/or specific office appointments. Furthermore, generalized feedback will be provided after the democracy debate logs have been submitted and the answers to a self-assessed test will be posted on the e-learning portal before the exam takes place.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Understand and critically appraise the main concepts, theories and debates within political philosophy and political theory, plus an appreciation of the value of a normative approach to studying politics.

2. Analyse and assess the impact of these concepts and theories, plus contemporary political ideologies, upon politics and society more generally.

3. Apply these concepts, theories and sets of ideas to help understand and explain contemporary political events and issues.


Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. Collaboration with peers to gather, organise and deploy arguments and supporting evidence; present, critique and debate such arguments and evidence.


Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Appreciation of team work.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment
Based upon
(a) 1,500-word debate log at the end of Semester 1
(b) 90-min examination at the end of Semester 2

The debate log, based upon a formal debate on the arguments both for and against democracy held in one of the seminars, will provide the students with an opportunity to demonstrate the extent of their reading, evidence of independent learning and critical thinking. It will also allow them to appraise their strengths and weaknesses in terms of debating and seminar performance more generally. The examination will test the ability of students to gather, organise and deploy information from a wide variety of sources in order to construct a coherent political argument.

Formative assessment
Generalized feedback will be provided after the democracy debate logs have been submitted and the answers to a self-assessed test will be posted on the e-learning portal before the exam takes place.

Pre-requisite(s)

n/a

Co-requisite(s)

n/a

Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code L2L2

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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