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Politics & International Relations
POLI100: Understanding Politics and Governance
The aim of this Part I core course is to introduce students to some of the key areas of the fields of Politics and International Relations. The course is designed for students who are new to politics and those who have studied politics before. For the former it will provide a basic introduction and a foundation for future study. For the latter the course will expand and develop their knowledge into new areas. For all students the course will give a 'taster' of the kinds of modules available to students who continue to study Politics and International Relations in the second and third years.
The first term looks at politics within the state. It focuses on one important political ideal (liberal democracy). What does it mean to talk about democracy? How can we protect liberty? Is it significant that property is unevenly distributed? We then look art two important states (the UK and the USA) which claim to live up to that ideal. In this section of the course we examine the role of elections, the executive, legislatures, the judiciary, and interest groups. The term ends by looking at two important international institutions which promote the values of liberal democracy (the UN and EU). Have these institutions been a success? Have they really promoted their ideals - or have they caused more problems than they have solved?
The second term takes this story further by widening it onto the international arena. The term begins with an examination of some of the theories or perspectives which we can employ to understand International Relations. Must states fear each other and is war inevitable - or are there prospects for peace based around common interests and assumptions? The second section looks at how the world of international Relations has developed from the Cold War to a world where there are many sources of power. We also examine the regions of Africa, South America, Asia, and the Middle East. The final section begins to examine how the world has been transformed in recent times - and how new ideas and events are coming under closer scrutiny and significance. In particular we examine the themes of globalisation, the relationship between economics and politics, development, and inequality and resistance.
In the third and final term we take a look at the ongoing 'War on Terror'. In this section we focus on the global role of the USA, and the response of other world actors to the position and actions of the USA. In particular, we examine the how the internal politics of the USA helps to shape and set the agenda for the politics of the global stage. The term concludes with an examination of some of the current issues in world politics - usually focusing on some current or recent conflicts.
There is no single textbook that covers the variety of themes that we examine on this course. However, students who wish to undertake some preparatory reading before beginning the course could consult the books listed below which are used as text books on the course. We do not expect you to have read all of these before you arrive - but they will give you a flavour of the course. We suggest that you start with the book that most catches your interest.
Wolff, J., An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2006).
Kavanagh, D., British Politics (5th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006)
Singh, R., American Government and Politics (Sage, 2003)
Baylis, J. and Smith, S., The Globalization of world Politics: an Introduction to International Relations (3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2005)
Calvocoressi, P., World Politics (8th Edition, Longman, 2001)
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|Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion County South, Lancaster University,
LA1 4YL, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1524 594260 Fax: +44 (0) 1524 594238 Email: email@example.com