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PL50437: Societal modernisation and the transformation of democracy

[Page last updated: 05 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: ES 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Essay (ES 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: The unit aims to:
* distinguish different conceptualisations of democratic change and modernisation in European societies;
* identify major reasons for, and implications of, the imperative of accelerated modernisation;
* explore, in particular, the implications of modernisation processes for contemporary politics and democracy;
* examine with regard to political modernisation the ambivalence between processes of depoliticisation and democratic renewal;
* assess controversial debates about possible options and pathways of modernisation.

Learning Outcomes: Students who have successfully completed this unit will be able:
* to understand major reasons for and dimensions of the ongoing modernisation process in European societies;
* to use major concepts and theoretical models to describe and discuss ongoing processes of democratic transformation;
* to distinguish and critically assess different concepts and strategies of modernisation;
* to understand and critically evaluate suggestions and debates on political modernisation and, in particular, the ongoing transformation of democracy.

Skills: 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.

Content: Lectures and Seminars will cover the following main topics:
* Different Perspectives on the political transformation of European Societies;
* Key Parameters in the Modernisation Process;
* Internationalisation of Politics and Multi-level Governance;
* Efficiency, Effectiveness and Legitimacy;
* Participatory Struggles and Democratic Renewal;
* Depoliticisation, Delegation and Post-democratic Politics.

Programme availability:

PL50437 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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