Marxism: Politics and International Relations - POLI6530

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


The module is aimed to introduce students to Marxist theory and to enable them to assess both the contemporary and historical significance of Marxism in world politics. Students are expected to read some of the key texts of Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels and to consider varied interpretations and critiques of Marxist methods, writings and theories. Students are also expected to consider the political contexts in which these theories and debates emerged and their implications for political practice. Students are not expected to demonstrate any detailed knowledge of the history of Marxist-inspired governments, regimes or political movements.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 44
Private study hours: 106
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

60% coursework (3000 word essay (40%), seminar participation (20%), 40% exam (2hr)

Indicative reading

MARX, Karl. Capital: A critique of capitalist production. Volume I. (London: Penguin).
MCCLELLAN, David (ed.) Karl Marx: Selected Writings 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, multiple printings since 2000)

Aron, Raymond. The Opium of the Intellectuals (1957)
Böhm-Bawerk, Eugen von. Karl Marx and the Close of His System: A Criticism, 1949 [orig. 1896]
Bookchin, Murray. 'Listen, Marxist!' (1969) Available:
Castoriadis, Cornelius. 'The Fate of Marxism' (1966) Available:
Conway, David. A Farewell to Marx: An Outline and Appraisal of his Theories (1987)
Cunliffe, Philip. Lenin Lives! Reimagining the Russian Revolution (2017)
Giddens, Anthony. A Contemporary Critique Of Historical Materialism (1981)
Koestler, Arthur et al. (eds), The God That Failed: Six Studies in Communism (1950)
Masaryk, Thomas & E.V. Kochak (ed.). Masaryk on Marx (1972)
Parkin, Frank. Marxism and Class Theory: A Bourgeois Critique (1979)
Popper, Karl. The Poverty of Historicism (2002; orig. edn. 1960)
Popper, Karl. The Open Society and Its Enemies, esp. vol ii (1962)
Rostow, Walt. The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, 1971
Young, Robert. White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (2004)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
- Understand the main ideas of Karl Marx, Fredrick Engels and later Marxists in relation to politics and international relations.
- Demonstrate first-hand knowledge of some of the principal writings of Marx, Engels and some later Marxists.
- Demonstrate familiarity with major Marxist debates and theories.
- Understand the political context within which key Marxist theories and debates emerged.
- Understand some of the major criticisms of Marxism.
- Deploy Marxism as an explanatory theory and understand its political implications.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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