MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
MA Politics options

Year 1, Component 02

Government option(s) from list
Gender and Armed Conflict

War narratives and studies of political violence have traditionally focused on the roles and actions of men. Women have typically been framed as innocent bystanders and victims. Yet, women often actively participate in civil wars and in terrorist campaigns, either as civilian supporters of these groups or as armed fighters. In addition to acknowledging the profound impact that civil conflicts have on women, this course explores the many important roles that women often play in terrorist and rebel organizations and examines women's potential contributions to post-war peace building and conflict resolution. The objective of the course is that you will gain a better understanding of the roles women play in the production and resolution of political violence and the manner in which gender and gender attitudes influence war and armed conflict.

Israeli Politics

In this module, you’ll gain an introduction to the domestic politics of Israel in a comparative perspective, including issues of internal cultural diversity, religion and politics, fragmentation of the political party system, and coalition governance. You’ll explore political institutions, parties, and voting behaviour in Israel, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the state of Israel as a democratic country, understand the Israeli political structure, and discuss the electoral arena.

Political Theory and Gender

This module explores the relation between gender and political theory by focusing on the work of feminist theorists, the critiques they have developed of mainstream understandings of key political concepts, and how they have sought to 'en-gender' those concepts. Themes may include the public/private divide, equality, intersectionality, democracy, power, rights, justice.

From Cradle to Grave: Social Justice in Childhood, Adulthood, and Death

Theories of justice are still being worked on and developed today. You question contemporary theories of justice through applying them to some of the most controversial issues dominating contemporary politics.

Migration, Politics and International Development

International migration is at the forefront of academic and policy discussions. You'll explore the multiple dimensions of human development linked to international migration, and the determinants and dynamics of international migration and its economic and social effects on both sending and receiving countries.

Comparative Environmental Politics

Study one of the most important contemporary aspects of political action: the natural environment. You consider the state of the environment and possible paths along which it might change, before exploring environmental policies from the level of individual values to the environmental movement to political parties, and finally to the level of international affairs.

International Relations: Theory and Analysis

This module provides you with a graduate-level introduction to both foundational and contemporary international relations research. The emphasis will be on evaluating arguments, understanding the development of the field, and identifying unresolved questions.

Quantitative Methods

Master the quantitative methods that are essential for testing hypotheses. You will study hypothesis testing, linear regression models, and more advanced regression models ubiquitous in political science, accompanied by data science and R programming skills.

Conflict Resolution

In this module you focus on conflict resolution in inter- and intra-state issues. You gain experience in the practical as well as in the theoretical aspects of negotiation and mediation, exploring the applicability of various tools and techniques in problem-solving real cases of international conflict, and making use of negotiation and mediation techniques in role playing exercises and other types of simulations.

Comparative Political Economy

The course covers topics in comparative political economy, including the relationship between domestic politics, domestic economic conditions and markets, and government economic policy. The goals of the course are to (a) introduce students to contemporary scholarly research on comparative political economy topics, (b) introduce students to strategic models in political science using substantive applications, and (c) stimulate students to form original ideas for promising quantitative research projects in contemporary comparative political economy. 

Justice and Equality

This module introduces historical and contemporary traditions within political theory, and applies these theories to pressing policy debates.

Foundations and Methods of Political Theory

Explore the key assumptions in social scientific research: value- neutrality, progress, and truth. Evaluate a variety of foundational questions in the philosophy of science about how and to what extent we can obtain certain, value-free knowledge and make laws about the social world. Explore the methodology of normative political theory and the role and importance of ideals and utopias in political thinking.

Foundations of Public Policy

This module introduces you to key concepts and theoretical approaches to studying and analysing public policy as well as applying these concepts and approaches to real-world public policy areas. This includes the economic, theoretical and normative foundations for public policies, theories of the public policy process and the actors and institutions involved in this process as well as approaches to studying the politics and political dilemmas regarding public policy. You will also be introduced and apply these concepts to real-world policy areas including education, pollution and taxation.

The Politics of Public Policy

The module “The Politics of Public Policy” provides a comprehensive overview of the key players and institutions that shape the policy-making process. You will study theories and evidence surrounding the creation of policies and explore the impact of political actors, institutions, and strategies on the formation and implementation of public policy. Through the examination of advocacy coalitions, policy networks, and the influence of ideas, beliefs, and interests, you will gain a deeper understanding of the relationships between state and private actors and the role of interest intermediation and lobbying in shaping public policy. The course also focuses on the interactions between legislative and executive branches of government, as well as the influence of international institutions and policy diffusion beyond the nation state. By the end of the course, you will have a well-rounded knowledge of the complex and dynamic politics of public policy and will be able to analyse specific policy processes using the tools and approaches covered in the module.

Political Psychology

Politics is about people. Everything – angry tweeting, constitutional design, environmental lobbying, states going to war – boils down to the opinions, decisions and behaviour of individuals, and understanding those is the territory of psychology. Political psychology is a growing and thriving subfield, to which this module provides a wide-ranging introduction. We will apply both the theories and methods of psychology to the behaviour of a range of political actors – voters, leaders, protestors, even terrorists. This is a practical as well as a theoretical module, with heavy emphasis on how we learn about political psychology and with every student designing – and perhaps in their dissertation executing – a research project in the field.

Insurgents, Criminals and Terrorists

The world of violent non-state actors has received growing attention among academics and policy circles. Given the rise of groups such as the Islamic State, and criminal organisations fighting in Mexico and other locations, the focus on violent non-state actors has become increasingly important. This module focuses on the political science literature on violent non-state actors. We start with a conceptual approach, considering why some groups fit into categories such as "insurgent" while others perhaps fit better in another category such as "terrorist" or "mafia". It also examines why non-state actors resort to violence and crime, what tactics and strategies they use, how they fund their existence, how they undermine the state and what can be done to counter the instability they cause. The module will examine the objectives of these organizations, what their mobilization strategies are and what often constitutes their support base. The module will give a thorough overview of not only the world of violent non-state actors but also the political, economic, geographical and regional environments which help to explain their strength.

International Institutions and Global Governance

This module examines the institutions that govern international relations. It is designed around the following question: Do international institutions promote international cooperation? In particular, the module analyses how formal and informal international institutions can help to overcome the main challenges for international cooperation and promote global governance.

International Political Economy

The course covers topics in international political economy, including the relationship between domestic politics, international economic conditions and markets, and government economic policy. The goals of the course are to (a) introduce students to contemporary scholarly research on international political economy topics, (b) introduce students to strategic models in political science using substantive applications, and (c) stimulate students to form original ideas for promising quantitative research projects in contemporary international political economy.

Democracy and Freedom

GV948 is a module in political theory. We read classic texts that first formulated our modern ideas of democracy and freedom, as well as more contemporary texts that challenge these ideas. We will discuss democracy from a range of historical, normative, and theoretical perspectives. Questions include: What is democracy? What is democracy’s value? What are the practices that are constitutive of democracy? We will also consider some challenges for democracy, considering contemporary threats to democracy and freedom.

Comparative European Politics I

The objective of this module is to provide a better understanding of democratic political processes in Europe. The first part will be devoted to studying the origins of party systems, the impact of different electoral systems on party competition, and linkages between citizens and politicians in West and East European countries. In the second part, we will analyse the rise of populist and extremist parties, democratic backsliding, and institutional mechanisms that constrain political officials. The module also provides an accessible introduction to research design and methods that political scientists have used to address these topics. By the end of the course students will have a sound knowledge of contemporary European politics and understand the advantages and limitations of comparative research. Specifically, participants will become familiar with important academic debates in political party behaviour, the rise of extremism, democratic backsliding, and accountability mechanisms. Students are encouraged to critically assess the validity of conflicting theoretical claims and arguments on the basis of appropriate empirical evidence. The module will also help students hone their analytical and writing skills. By composing short response papers, a grant application, an essay, and peer review comments, students learn how to tailor their writing to different audiences.

Comparative European Politics II

This course is about how representative democracy works in Europe. We will examine several topics within the European context, including: public opinion, political participation, political parties, electoral systems, party competition, and how to evaluate democracies. We will also develop specific knowledge about several European countries, by learning how the political institutions (several are mentioned above) function within them. The course also provides an accessible introduction to research design and methods that political scientists have used to address these topics.

Ideology and Discourse Analysis

This module introduces the fundamental concepts and logics of poststructuralist discourse theory, including discussions of post- Marxism, deconstruction, structural linguistics, and psychoanalytic theory. Students are invited to engage with contemporary debates in critical political theory, in order to better probe and grasp the role that the categories of discourse and ideology can play in our understanding of the contemporary world.

Critical Political Theory

This module introduces the fundamental concepts and logics of ideology and discourse analysis in political theory, including discussions of post-Marxism, Foucauldian genealogy, deconstruction and psychoanalysis. The module also explores how the concepts of ideology and discourse can be used to analyse, understand and explain pressing issues in the contemporary world. Attention is focussed on the emergence and character of political ideologies like populism, neoliberalism, nationalism and socialism, as well as the interpretation and evaluation of key events and developments, including the different ideological responses to the global financial crisis, the construction of new political identities, the role of protest and social movements, and the ecological crisis.

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