A User’s Guide to Political Resistance - POLI9360

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2023 to 2024.


This module will look at how ideas of resistance are translated into political action. What are the modalities, costs and consequences of this process? We will look at specific instances of resistance to political authority and examine the techniques of resistance employed, the assumptions that underpin these techniques, and the tensions and problems that arise as ideas are actualised in political reality. Studying historical examples of resistance will help us reflect on the complex relationship between theory and practice in political reality.

As part of the Resistance in Practice module, students can choose between submitting an academic essay on a historical instance of resistance and performing a practice of resistance. We envision that such practices of resistance could involve poetry, theatre, painting, sculpture, video, film, photography, music, and other forms of artistic expression. The practice must be a documented practice, which means that students must submit not just the performance but also a portfolio in which they reflect on what they did and why. Early in the module, students interested in submitting a documented practice for assessment discuss their ideas with the module convenor, and they will continue to work on their projects with the help of a supervisor.


Contact hours

Total contact hours 32 (inclusive of hours on trip – 8)
Private study hours 168
Total study hours 200


Optional to: MA programmes in Politics and International Relations

Method of assessment

Critical commentary (1000 words) 20%
Essay (4000 words) 80%
Documented Practice of Resistance 80%

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Ormiston, G. and Schrift A. (eds) Transforming the Hermeneutic Context (Albany, NY: State
University of New York Press, 1990).
West, D. An Introduction to Continental Philosophy (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000).
Smith, N. Strong Hermeneutics: Contingency and Moral Identity (London: Routledge, 1997).
Coole, D. Negativity and Politics: Dionysus and Dialectics from Kant to Poststructuralism (London:
Routledge, 2000).
Carver, T. and Martin, J. (eds) Palgrave Advances in Continental Political Thought (Basingstoke:
Palgrave, 2005).
Critichley, S. and Schroeder, W. R. (eds) A Companion to Continental Philosophy (Oxford:
Blackwell, 1998).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Reflect critically upon the relationship between political theory and specific practices of resistance
8.2 Articulate the theoretical foundations of specific instances of social and political resistance
8.3 Analyse the relationship between practices of resistance and different models of the political
8.4 Critically explore the relationship between art practices, resistance, and political theory
8.5 Conceive and execute a theoretically informed and clearly articulated practice of resistance


  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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