Social and Political Theory (MSc)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Four evenings a week full-time or two evenings a week part-time, October to June

This Master's degree in politics explores pressing contemporary issues using political theory and sociology. Our focus is on the nature and workings of political power and authority and we will consider the relationships between states and societies, and the place of politics and power in everyday life.

As well as reading key classical texts of political theory and sociological analysis, we also analyse real-world contemporary problems and address fundamental questions of political power and social order. Topics studied include sovereignty, territory and state building, property and law, the legitimacy of political authority, democracy, violence and pluralism.

Your option modules can be drawn from the Department of Politics, and also from the Department of Psychosocial Studies and the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, thus offering you access to historical and psychosocial approaches to theory, politics and the social sciences.

Highlights

  • This Master's degree will enable you to develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of the main ideas and current trends and directions in social and political theory.
  • The Department organises a lively programme of seminars and conferences and is home to affiliated research centres, such as the Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life, which run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.

Course structure

The two core modules will give you the theoretical framework and confidence to explore and deepen your knowledge. You will examine political power, how it originates and operates at an individual, social and political level, its relationship to sovereignty and the state, and how it intersects with issues such as justice and human rights, civil identity, democracy and economics. You will be equipped with the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study politics at postgraduate level.

You can then choose two option modules from a wide variety of topics within the Departments of Politics, Psychosocial Studies and History, Classics and Archaeology. They include:

  • International relations and international security
  • War, conflict, nationalism, politics and religion
  • ‘Race’, racism, postcoloniality
  • Culture, community, identity
  • Lacanian psychoanalysis - theory and practice
  • Sexing the body - psychoanalytic and other framings
  • Visual culture: power and the image
  • Gender, space and time.

You will also learn research techniques that will enable you to specialise and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation or a research portfolio on the subject that interests you most.

Module groups