Conservatism: Politics and International Relations of the Right - POLI6690

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2023 to 2024.


This course is intended to familiarise students with the conservative tradition in modern politics. This is achieved by reference to a range of key conservative thinkers selected to help students understand the diversity of the conservative tradition and consider what factors help to cohere it. Comparison within the tradition and across a variety of thinkers is achieved by examining these thinkers' views on four basic categories of modern politics, namely the state, the market, society and international relations. In order to meet these broad learning outcomes, essay questions will be designed in order to ensure that students have to compare different thinkers.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main Assessment Methods:

• Reconstruction, 1500 words, 30%
• Essay, 3000 words, 60%
• Seminar participation, 10%

Indicative reading

* Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

* Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)

* G.W.F. Hegel, Elements of The Philosophy of Right (1820)

* A. James Gregor, Origins and Doctrine of Fascism: With Selections from Other Works by Giovanni Gentile (2004)

* Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin (2011)

* Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, 1996 [1927]

* Roger Scruton, Political Philosophy: An Argument for Conservatism (2003)

* Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays (1962)

* Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1840)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1: demonstrate an advanced and critical understanding and knowledge of conservative views on the state, the market, society and international relations

2: demonstrate in-depth first-hand knowledge of some of the key writings of major conservative thinkers

3: critically engage with the coherence and diversity in the conservative political tradition

4: demonstrate extensive knowledge of the major debates within the conservative political tradition

5: understand critically the political, historical, and social context within which conservative thinkers have developed their theories and ideas

6: demonstrate detailed understanding of some of the major criticisms of conservative politics

7: demonstrate a rigorous ability to analyse, make use of and criticise the secondary literature on conservative thinkers and their ideas.


  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.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.