Department of European Studies & Modern Languages, Unit Catalogue 2008/09
EU50506 Concepts and theories in the study of contemporary European politics
| Credits: 6 |
| Semester: 1|
|Assessment: CW 100%|
Aims: This unit aims to:
* Raise an awareness for the peculiarities of political science as a semi-science;
* Deepen and broaden the students' understanding of common concepts and theories required for political research;
* Provide an overview of important methodological traditions and schools of thought;
* Develop awareness of the limitations and restrictions of scientific research into political and sociological issues;
* Develop familiarity with the major theoretical approaches used in contemporary political research;
* Develop the ability to locate their own work conceptually in established methodological traditions.
Students who complete the unit successfully will be able to demonstrate:
* A clear grasp of the major theoretical approaches used in contemporary political research;
* An understanding of the differences between these major theoretical approaches and their research-relevant implications;
* An ability to evaluate the usefulness of these approaches in relation to the study of contemporary European politics;
* Skills to analyse and compare the major theoretical approaches and concepts as they apply to the study of contemporary European politics.
The key skills the unit will hone and further develop are:
* Advanced research skills in identifying, locating and exploiting a wide range of descriptive, evaluative and theoretical literature.
* Intellectual skills of conceptual, original and independent thinking, critical analysis, synthesis and reasoned argument.
* Skills of assessment and judgement in relation to the soundness of competing arguments and scenarios, including the reporting and assessing of qualitative and quantitative data.
* Generic and transferable skills related to the oral and written presentation of ideas.
* Skills of self-direction, self-evaluation and time management.
Theoretical approaches and their practical application
* European Studies - Political Sociology - Political Research
* Theories of the State
* Theories of Democracy
* Academic work at post-graduate level
* Institutionalism and Neo-Institutionalism
* Theories of Globalisation
* Rational choice
* Post-Marxism, Critical Theory, Neo-Marxism
* Post-Structuralism, Constructionism, Post-modernism
* Functionalism and Systems Theory.