MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
Integrated Master in Politics: International Relations options

Year 1, Component 06

Option from list or Outside Option
Introduction to Politics

What is “Politics”? How have people conceived of political analysis, the state, laws, wars and political parties, across cultures and over time? Gain an understanding of essential concepts in the study of politics and explore the economic, social and intellectual trends that have made democracy possible.

Introduction to International Relations

This module offers a formative background in the study of international politics. The course seeks to provide the essential tools and theoretical concepts used to analyze international politics so that a better understanding of specific historical events or contemporary issues is given. Students will apply the key concepts learned in the module to explain significant events and changes in world politics. This includes assessing important features of international politics in the post-Cold War era, including the global spread of democracy and the rise of new security issues. Throughout the module, students practice applying theoretical concepts to real world events and developing their critical thinking skills.

Thinking Like a Social Scientist

What constitutes a good piece of research? You consider the basics of scientific work and procedures in the social sciences in order to understand the philosophy and theory of social scientific investigations, and to improve your research throughout your degree.

Contemporary Topics in International Relations

Why do states sometimes go to war? What conditions can promote peace and international stability? When are states able to form cooperative agreements to promote trade, combat terrorism, or address climate change? Explore issues in international relations which help address complicated questions concerning cooperation and conflict between countries. 

Politics and Economic Policies

What is a public good? Why do people pollute? What is collective action, and what forms does it take? This module provides students with theoretical and empirical insights to understand and analyse problems of collective action – i.e. situations in which members of communities need to coordinate shared interests. The module introduces the analytical concepts of collective action and presents applied local and global cases. The course also covers some of the most important questions about the aims and tools of economic policy.

Institutions of Democracy

What rules affect political action? You explore how institutions and the rules they enforce, for example voting under a specific electoral system, affect political and economic outcomes, and whether these are ultimately only second-best solutions to collective action.

Politics and Power

This is a module in political theory. We read critics of ‘Western’ and liberal political thought, including readings from class, race, gender, and disability theory. Central to Western political theory is the social contract tradition, which suggests that the exercise of political power is justified by the popular consent of the people. The readings this term argue that the contract is not consented to by everybody (‘we the people’) but between just the people who count, and so hides the ugly realities of oppression and domination. We will discuss how purportedly universal ideas of reason, freedom, and equality, excluded many people. GV151, which teaches the development of western political thought, is recommended as a prerequisite.

Truth, Justice, and The Nature of Politics

Study some fundamental texts in the “Western” philosophical tradition. We examine the assumptions underlying these texts, as well as the implications they have for us today. We explore profound themes of truth, justice, equality, freedom, democracy, liberalism, republicanism, and morality.

Challenges of Human Security

How does disease and disaster affect society and the state? How can states and societies can respond and be resilient? In this module, you’ll look at the economic, social, psychological and political implications and responses to disease and disaster from an inter-disciplinary perspective and examine how states build capacity and the importance of state -societal, and interpersonal trust.

Democracy in Europe and the United States, 1789-1989

Democracy cannot be taken for granted. There was a long road to modern democracy and universal suffrage. Evolution of existing systems, revolutions, and wars created what is generally called Western Democracy. This module will explore the development of democracy in Europe and the United States over the last 200 years. It will examine how democratic states were established, challenged and reborn from the late eighteenth century to the late twentieth century. Europe experienced dictatorships, two World Wars and the fall of the Iron curtain in this time period, but it also saw the expansion of citizenship and civil liberties, the establishment of parliamentary democracies on a global scale and the emergence of the welfare states with greater social provisions for its populations. In the year that followed its creation, the United States rapidly expanded its franchise, but it also continued to exclude many people from the democratic process well into the twentieth century. The module will also investigate the crisis of the welfare state, the rise of Neo-Liberalism, and the rise of populism--all challenges to democratic systems in the past and today.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

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