In your final year, you will have the opportunity to undertake a politics dissertation under the supervision of a member of our academic staff. You will also choose modules in politics and economics from the full range of options offered by both schools.
In politics, at least three modules should come from the international relations stream. You can specialise further by adding more of the same, or broaden your knowledge base by taking modules from comparative politics and political theory.
Airpower and Modern Conflict
The invention of the aircraft fundamentally changed the ways in which wars are fought and won. Over the course of only a century airpower developed into an indispensable instrument of warfare. Today, war without airpower is an unlikely prospect and major military operations, as a rule, are launched with overwhelming air attacks.
In recent years, however, the utility of 'strategic' airpower has increasingly come under question. Whilst technological innovation continues to strengthen airpower's capabilities, the relevance of these capabilities in contemporary conflicts cannot be taken for granted.
This module critically assesses the role of air power in modern conflict within the broader framework of strategic and security studies. It will assess the evolution of air power theory since the First World War and examine the limits of its practical application with reference to specific air campaigns.
Brexit: British Foreign Policy and the Withdrawal from Europe
This module interprets Brexit as the latest manifestation of a prolonged, vexed national debate about Britain's role in the world. It will build on and develop your understanding of material taught at year one and year two.
You will cover a wide variety of topics, all unified by analysis of the question that motivated policy-makers facing these dilemmas at the time: 'in or out of Europe?'
The module content unfolds around the debates that surrounded major foreign policy-related events such as the Cold War, Suez, the end of Empire and decolonisation, the turn to Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, the 1975 EEC membership referendum, the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty, EU enlargement and the Eurozone crisis.
Conflict and Media in the 21st Century
This module is guided by the following questions:
- What is the role of the media in international conflict?
- How do government and military decision makers use the media to shape public opinion in times of conflict?
- What are the opportunities and challenges of modern technology for conflict reporting?
This module covers topics such as the functions of media in democracy, the role of media in foreign policy making, the history of war reporting, terrorism and the media, the securitization of the media, gender and war reporting, citizen journalism, embedded journalism, the role of misinformation in international conflict, the changing nature of “journalism” and photojournalism of war.
This module will discuss these topics from an academic and a practitioner’s perspective. It is taught by a media scholar (AW) and a former BBC journalist turned academic (NM). Throughout the module, cases such as the Iraq War, MH17 plane crash in Ukraine and relations with Russia, the Arab Spring and the war against ISIS will be discussed.
Crises and Controversies in Immigration
This module will introduce you to the current issues around migration. You will learn to differentiate between different types of immigration such as asylum, labour, family, and irregular as well as different aspects, such as integration and citizenship. The module will identify and analyse political responses to immigration at both national and supranational levels.
Disasters, Rehabilitation and Resilience
This module will focus on post disaster recovery and rehabilitation and how ‘resilience’ is articulated and experienced. Key themes will include vulnerability (to shocks and slow onset disasters), risk and resilience.
Examples will be drawn from various real world disasters and you will be able to research the disasters of your choice.
Dynamics of Regional Economic and Security Development: China, Japan and ASEAN
East Asia is one of the world's most dynamic and diverse regions. It is also becoming an increasingly coherent region through the inter-play of various integrative economic, political, and socio-cultural processes, otherwise known as regionalism. Studying these regionalism processes may be understood in the broadly context of East Asia's regional political economy. Moreover, the integrative processes of regionalism are closely bound to East Asia's regional economic development. Japan played a particularly important initial role here from the 1950s onwards, and now China has become the locomotive of East Asia's economic growth.
This module explores the various aspects of East Asia's regional political economy with special reference to the influence of China. Key themes include regional organisations, international business, cities and infrastructure, environment, international migration, energy security, international development, trade, finance and geopolitics.
European Disunion in an Age of Brexit
This module introduces you to the political institutions of and current challenges facing the European Union. It provides a historical and theoretical overview of the Union’s foundational treaties and initial organisations, as well as a discussion of its contemporary means of governing.
In doing so, it provides you with a basis for understanding the many challenges faced by the EU today, among them: Brexit and other national sources of Euroscepticism, the migrant crisis and wider threats to the Single Market, ideals and realities for the common currency, authoritarian and populist tests of the EU’s traditional liberal democratic legacy, and global pressures on the European policymaking system.
Fictionalised Politics: How Politics and Politicians are Represented in the US and UK
The module assesses changing attitudes to representative politics in the US and UK, specifically political parties and those who lead them, Prime Ministers, Presidents and the voters themselves through their representation, mostly in films and television dramas and comedies, up to and including The Iron Lady, The Thick of It, Dr Who, The Simpsons, The West Wing and the Ides of March, amongst many others.
The module explores what these fictions say about politics – and assesses what effect they have on how we see 'real' politics?
Gender and Development
This module examines major themes, debates and issues in the field of Gender and Development. We will focus on the relationship between ideas and concerns of gender (in)equality and processes, policies, and practices of economic, social and political development.
We will explore the key literature and major debates in the field of feminist political economy, linking academic, policy-related and practitioner/activist debates. We will cover theoretical and conceptual frameworks as well as key contemporary issues explored through thematic and sector/policy case studies. We will explore how political, economic and social processes of globalisation and development intersect, impact, and are in turn influenced by gender relations in the South.
Globalisation and Resistance: Contesting the Political Economy of Global Restructuring
The module is divided into two parts. Part I will focus on understanding globalisation and resistance conceptually. This part is based on the general lecture plus seminar style of teaching.
Part II is dedicated to student research projects. You will choose one resistance movement of your choice, critically discuss it in an assessed class presentation and analyse its wider implications in an essay.
Case studies of resistance movements can include specific national and international trade unions (for example, Unite, Unison, ETUC, ITUC), transnational social movements such as La Via Campesina or Stop-TTIP, as well as nationally based social movements including the landless labour movement MST in Brazil, the Piqueteros in Argentina or the Occupy Movement. The World Social Forum as a process of resistance could equally be a case study, as could be the experience of a country such as Venezuela under Chavez.
Government and Politics from the Middle East to Eurasia
This module takes an overall area studies approach to the study of the region from Turkey eastwards to Afghanistan including Russia, Syria and Iraq. It examines the current politics and international relations of these states as well as their historical and cultural context.
In addition, it explores the region thematically including the nature of illiberal governance in evidence, the role of both nationalism and religion in the affairs of the region plus the role of terrorism, civil war and gender identity.
Finally, it will assess the influence of outside actors including NATO and the EU as well as Russia and the Eurasian Union. The module will use a lot of primary as well as secondary sources and will help students to develop research skills as well as an understanding of the politics within, and between, states in this geopolitically crucial and complex area of the world.
Ideas and Politics in Contemporary Britain
The aim of this module is to explain and assess the nature and role of ideas and ideologies in British politics. It examines how and why the policies of the 'mainstream' British parties (Conservative, Labour and the Liberal Democrats) have been affected by ideas and ideologies, on the one hand, and by political pragmatism, on the other.
It also explores the ideas, ideologies and policies of minor parties and 'new social movements' (ecologism; fascism, Nazism and racism; feminism; multiculturalism, and nationalism) and their significance for the study and practice of politics in Britain today.
Identity, Territory and Political Conflict
Contemporary events in Scotland, Catalonia and Ukraine have revealed the extent to which the territorial integrity of the state is under challenge. And these developments have parallels across the world, from Quebec to Kosovo and Kashmir. So, this module examines the important questions surrounding the relationship between identity, territory and political conflict:
- Why do countries experience the pressure to break-up?
- What explains this rise of nationalism?
- How do citizens’ feelings of belonging influence the way they vote?
- Why do some nationalist movements become violent while others remain peaceful?
- How can central governments respond to these demands?
- What can the international community do to manage these conflicts?
- Finally, where federal arrangements are put into place, how successful are they in containing nationalism?
The module adopts a comparative perspective to address these questions, by focusing on countries in different regions of the world.
International Human Rights
This module provides an introduction to the international human rights system.
We will examine the essential elements of international human rights system - conceptual, substantive and institutional. The module will develop from an introduction and historical overview of international human rights law to consider the nature of human rights obligations in international law as well as the various mechanisms created to promote and protect human rights. Substantive rights will be used as case studies to examine each of these aspects of the international human rights system.
As well as gaining an understanding of the international system for the protection of human rights, you will also become familiar with those principles of public international law in which international human rights law is based.
International Political Economy of China
This module introduces you to the major topics in China's interaction with and role in international political economy (IPE). It includes useful concepts and theories in IPE, the evolution of China's ties with international political economy since 1949, the linkage between domestic and international political economy of China and players in the making of external political economic policies in China.
It also examines China's role in key international organisations (such as the WTO) and in the global and regional orders of political economy. It provides a survey of the political economy of China's ties with the major powers and regions such as the US, Russia, East Asia, and major oil producing nations.
The module identifies and evaluates the role that Parliament plays in the political system. The module is both descriptive and analytical, comprising an introduction to Parliament (such as its place in the political process, the impact of party) and an investigation into the effectiveness or otherwise of its scrutiny and influence of selected sectors of government responsibility.
It covers the process of legislation, scrutiny, and links with the public. The module also considers the role of the House of Lords.
Political Campaigning in the USA
This module will focus on the theory, science, and practice of modern political campaigning in the US, in particular during presidential elections. We will delve into the strategic environment that political candidates manoeuvre throughout elections and discuss the campaign strategies that they employ.
We will cover topics such as the power and limits of campaigns, the changing nature of campaigns, political advertising and micro targeting, issue marketing, appealing to emotions, visual framing, attacking the opponent (negative campaigning), (mis)information and social media, minority candidates running for office, televised election debates and election news coverage. The field of campaigning rests upon knowledge from various disciplines, such as political science, communication science, psychology, marketing and neuroscience.
Throughout the module, the 2016 presidential campaign serves as prime example. This module is for students who wish to get a better understanding of political campaigns and for students who wish to be part of a campaign team in the future.
Political Extremism, Violent Extremism and Responses
This module will attempt to bridge the gap between academic study and pragmatic policy. It will consider how extremist ideas come into politics through extremist versions of ideology and religion, based on theories of prominent writers in the field. It will consider political ideologies’ reliance on power and the role of violence through past case studies such as anarchism and liberation theology. Contemporary cases involving right wing and Islamist extremism will be explored to identify commonality and difference.
The relationship between ideology, grievance narrative, the role of ideologues and radicalisation will be explored, as will the responses of wider society and the international community in terms of policy and initiatives involving preventing violent extremism (PVE) and countering violent extremism (CVE). Finally, mainstreaming of extremist ideas through populism in world politics will be addressed. Senior experts and practitioners will augment the module teaching.
The Politics of East and Central Europe
This module provides a critical assessment of the development of democracy in the post-communist states of East-Central Europe.
It analyses the historical legacy of communism including the imposition of communist rule, the failure of reform and the collapse of the communist system; the political transition, the new constitutional framework, party systems, the development of civil society and non-state mediating institutions, the economic transition from a state-planned to a market economy and the challenges that the social problems of systemic change pose in the area of social policy.
The module concludes by examining the impact of regional co-operation and the integration of post-communist states with the European political, economic and security structures.
The Politics of Science Fiction
The module will look at a selection of science fiction novels and films from the standpoint of a student of political theory. In particular, it will consider the way in which works of literature and film have dealt with the issue of the relationships which exists between politics on the one hand and science/technology on the other.
Property and its Critics
Our world is dominated by institutions of private property. Why? What justifies the existence of private property? Why should (these) owners own (this) property? What could justify vast disparities in the ownership of the world's finite resources? Why does (almost) nobody ask these questions?
These are the issues that are explored in this module drawing on a wide range of texts and arguments, ancient and modern.
Public Opinion and Polling
Democracy and responsive policy-making rest on the will of the people. But how can this 'will' be identified? While elections and referendums are one option, more frequent expressions of citizens' views can be obtained from opinion polls. Indeed, a range of public and private bodies routinely use opinion polls to identify public attitudes. But what are these attitudes supposedly revealing? How do opinion polls go about identifying attitudes and how valid are their results?
This module will introduce you to the theory and practice of public opinion. It will discuss what public opinion is, how attitudes are formed, and how far they are 'shaped' by the questions asked. In addition, it will teach how survey research can be used to measure public opinion and how statistical software can be used to analyse the collected public opinion data. You will design your own survey and analyse the data collected as part of your assessment.
Secret Intelligence and International Security
This module is an introduction to the concepts and practices of secret intelligence and its place within international security. The module is split into three sections.
The first examines conceptual issues and models; the second explores some of the roles of intelligence in the 21st century; and the third examines how intelligence actors can actively shape international relations. These are highly relevant issues, which are regularly in the media.
Theories of the Modern State
The state is the predominant site of power and authority in the modern world. Where modern states do not exist there is usually civil war or occupation; where they are ineffective, politics, society and economy tend to be unstable. But the modern state is also itself a site of violence and coercion in the name of which much suffering has been inflicted on those subject to its power, at home and abroad. Modern politics, then, simply cannot be understood unless we also understand the modern state.
By taking this module, you will become familiar with some of the most important theories of the modern state in the history of political thought, from Bodin and Hobbes, through Hegel and Weber, to Lenin, Robert Paul Wolff and Carole Pateman. You will come to appreciate how the power and authority of the modern state have been characterised, justified and repudiated during the modern era.
Transatlantic Security Relations
The module analyses some of the issues that have been the focus of transatlantic security cooperation since the end of the Cold War. These include issues that have related to the security of Europe, such as the adaptation of NATO and the development of a European Defence Identity, as well as matters of global concern, such as countering nuclear proliferation and containing 'states of concern'.
War and Massacre
This module examines the ethics of war. It focuses on the justice of war (jus ad bellum) and justice in war (jus in bello) from an analytical perspective. The module introduces and explores the questions of when (if at all) war can be legitimate, and what bar to actions (if any) exist in the conduct of war.
Its subject-matter is contemporary in nature, drawing on recent developments in the just war tradition and applied ethics more generally. It uses examples of recent armed conflict (from WWI to Gulf War II) to illuminate and test these positions.
The War in Afghanistan
This module will analyse the causes, evolving aims and conduct of the US-led international military campaign in Afghanistan (2001-present). The module will begin with an assessment of the legacy of the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-1989), the subsequent civil war, the composition of the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda presence at the outset of the conflict. It will then look at the UN sanctioned US/Northern Alliance operation to remove the Taliban from power and to install a new government.
The module will deconstruct assumptions and models that informed the establishment of new public institutions and a legal framework in Afghanistan alongside continuing counter-terrorism operations against residual elements of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It will also investigate the factors that stimulated a resurgence in support for the Taliban. In turn it will also examine the trajectory of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) counter-insurgency campaign from 2006-2014.
Finally, the module will continuously engage with wider terrorism and insurgency literature, including identifying where a selective reading of scholars' work informed military operations in Afghanistan.
The War in Iraq
This module will comprehensively deconstruct the causes, conduct and consequences of one of the most controversial wars of the modern era: the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It will assess how the road to war was paved at the United Nations and through the formulation of a 'coalition of the willing'. It will then critically evaluate how the swiftly concluded invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein gave way to a vicious insurgency.
The adaptation of the US military to the demands of counter-insurgency warfare will be analysed, as will British military performance in southern Iraq. The module will end by critically assessing the effectiveness of the 'surge' strategy under the implementation of Gen. David Petraeus, and evaluating the utility of 'analogical reasoning' through comparisons with the Vietnam War.
Advanced Development Economics
This module adopts a broad focus on factors influencing growth and development, concentrating on core economic policy areas and the role of international organisations.
Topics covered include macroeconomic policies, in particular exchange rates and the role of the IMF; aid policy and the World Bank, effects of aid on growth, macroeconomic and fiscal policy, and poverty; trade policy and performance and the WTO; economic reforms and growth experiences in East Asia, China and Africa; human development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Advanced Experimental and Behavioural Economics
This module discusses aspects of some of the main sub-areas of experimental and behavioural economics. This includes applications related to individual decision-making, strategic behaviour and market behaviour.
The module encourages reflection on both the role of experiments in economics and the assumptions that economics does (and should) make about people’s motivations. Both experimental economics and behavioural economics are still comparatively new fields within the wider discipline.
The module considers their potential and main achievements, relative to more traditional economic techniques. It encourages development of critical skills and reflection on specific research contributions in experimental and behavioural economics.
Advanced Financial Economics
The module covers:
- saving, focusing on how agents make intertemporal decisions about their savings and wealth accumulation
- saving puzzles and household portfolios, focusing on credit markets and credit markets imperfections, and why do households hold different kinds of assets
- asset allocation and asset pricing, focusing on intertemporal portfolio selection, asset pricing and the equity premium puzzle
- bond markets and fixed income securities
- the term structure of interest rates
- the role of behavioural finance in explaining stock market puzzles
Advanced International Trade I
This module looks at trade policy economic policy for trade and international factor mobility: theory and evidence, trade policy and imperfect competition, trade and distortions, the political economy of protection and trade policy reform.
Advanced Labour Economics
The module covers an economic analysis of the labour market, with an emphasis on policy implications and institutional arrangements.
The module will cover topics in advanced microeconomics and decision theory. The precise content may vary from year to year, but the module will start from the basis established by the Microeconomic Theory module.
Advanced Political Economy
This module covers:
- The rational political individual?
- Voter participation
- Collective action and the role of the state
- Core Political Economy:
- The economic approach to politics
- Political aspects of economics: rights and the limits of the state
- Political aspects of economics: inequality and the duties of the state
- Political Economy in Action:
- Political economy in action: some current issues in political economy
Advanced Public Economics
The module will introduce some major themes of the economic analysis of government. Using the tools of modern microeconomic theory, it will explore how government institutions are designed, how they could be designed better, and how they shape economic policy.
Economic Policy Analysis I and II
This module will introduce you to economic policy analysis.The first part of the module will focus on the role played by different institutional rules in shaping the behaviour of elected governments by providing incentives to elected governments.
The second part will cover post-crisis monetary policy; controlling money markets with excess reserves; spillovers of QE; effects of QE on asset and credit markets; low real equilibrium interest rates; uncertainty in monetary policy.
This module provides an advanced economic analysis of the theory of organisation of firms and industries. It will analyse a variety of market structures related to the degree of market competition with a special emphasis on imperfectly competitive markets. It will also analyse issues related to the internal organisation of firms.
International Money and Macroeconomics
This module will provide an introduction to international monetary issues, including the determination of exchange rates and international spill-over effects.
International Trade Policy
This module looks at:
- trade policy - theory and evidence
- trade policy and imperfect competition
- trade and distortions
- the political economy of protection
- trade policy reform