With the world's largest economy and most powerful armed forces, the United States bestrides the world stage. Yet, according to many critics, the US’s own political system is in crisis and turmoil, polarised on hot-button culture issues but also witnessing an attack on democracy itself by an ex-president and his loyal acolytes. Trump challenged both our notions of who could be elected to the most powerful job and our long established theories about how the US government can and should work. The US, like many other nations, faces serious public policy questions on the economy, health, energy, education, guns, crime, poverty and immigration, among others, but can its dysfunctional political system rise to the challenge? This module allows you to formulate your own answer to this and other questions by offering a comprehensive introduction to the politics and government of the United States.
Private Study: 128
Contact Hours: 22
Cannot be taken with POLI6170
Optional to the following courses:
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations (Bi-diplôme)
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Language
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Placement Year
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Foundation Year
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Year in North America
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with Quantitative Research
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with Quantitative Research With a Placement Year
• BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations with a Year in the Asia-Pacific
• BA (Hons) Economics and Politics
• BA (Hons) Philosophy and Politics
• BA (Hons) History and Politics
• BA (Hons) Sociology and Politics
Also available as an elective module and to short term credit students
Method of assessment
Main assessment methods
Essay (2500 words) 50%
Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework
*Exam will be online for the 23-24 academic year*
The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages but the two key texts are:
• David McKay, American Politics and Society, 10th edition (Blackwells, 2022)
• Gillian Peele, Bruce Cain, Jon Herbert and Andrew Wroe (eds.), Developments in American Politics 9 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022)
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 Have a thorough knowledge of the structure of the US governmental system;
2 Describe and account for the operation of the US's political institutions, including those 'intermediate' institutions (parties, media etc) that link citizens to their government;
3 Understand how the individual institutions interact and work together (or not, as the case may be);
4 Comprehend the relationship between government institutions and the US's cultural and societal attributes;
5 Understand how the governmental structure and political culture interact to produce certain policy outcomes;
6 Identify and analyse some of the major political problems facing the US.
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Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
- ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
- The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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