The Politics Today module enables us to engage our first year students in debates on current political issues, typically on issues that dominate our newspapers and therefore are close to the students' own awareness and experience. However, in the introduction to the module we will also consider how such issues enter our awareness and why, and whether indeed 'relevance’ itself is a political construct. The module will be responsive to current world affairs, and therefore the precise selection of issues to be discussed may change from year to year. After a general introduction, 2-3 issues will be presented and analysed, typically by considering historical backgrounds, key political actors, configurations of interests, possible developments and outcomes. The module endeavours to help students appreciate and conceptualise the complexities of the modern world by discussing current national and/or world issues from diverse perspectives and angles. At the beginning of the course, students will also be given the opportunity to vote on issues of interest which are not already included in the curriculum. The issue with the most votes will then be added to the curriculum, and students will be involved in preparing the issue for discussion and analysis.
Contact hours: 22
Private study: 128
The module contributes to all programmes offered by and with the School of Politics and International Relations.
Available as an elective module.
Method of assessment
5 Moodle quizzes – 20%
Essay 2,000 words - 80%
100% coursework reassessment
Davis, Aeron. 2019. Political Communication: A New Introduction for Crisis Times. London: Polity.
Tilly, Charles and Tarrow, Sidney. 2015 Contentious Politics. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University
Farkas, Johan. 2019. Post-Truth, Fake News and Democracy. London: Routledge.
Apart from such generic titles, the reading list for each year will depend on the 'current issues' selected for discussion. The discussion of the issues will make use of a range of media including e.g. background material (books), online sources, articles, newspapers.
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Identify and describe key problems and issues in contemporary national or international politics
2. Analyse at least one of these problems or issues drawing on current literature
3. Demonstrate an understanding of how the interests of the political actors involved in the relevant situation may shape their approach to, and perception of, the situation
4. Demonstrate an awareness of how problems and issues in international politics can be explored and analysed from different perspectives, using different methods and approaches
5. Use the analysis of at least one of these problems, and issues in order to explore and discuss solutions and policy advice evaluating possible costs and benefits
6. Account for the complexity of contemporary problems in national or international politics
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