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The European Union Polity


Module description

This module is supported by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme.

  • What is the European Union?
  • Where does the idea of a united Europe come from and why did it materialise only after World War II?
  • How does the EU operate and why?
  • How has it evolved over time?
  • What are its main institutions?
  • What kind of theories have social scientists developed in order to explain the process of European integration?
  • What can the study of politics, law, history and the economy contribute to our understanding of the European Union?
  • What is Euroscepticism?

These are some of the key questions we will cover in this module. Most sessions include practical tasks carried out in class either individually or in small groups, always under the direct supervision of the course tutor.

Indicative syllabus

  • The history of the idea of a united Europe
  • The EU’s development since 1950
  • The grand theories of integration
  • Individual institutions of the EU
  • The politics of contemporary Euroscepticism

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • describe and analyse the main institutions of the European Union
  • deploy theoretical arguments to explain how the EU operates
  • discuss competing models in relation to its development
  • evaluate alternative accounts of the EU’s operation
  • think and write critically about various facets of the actual operation of the EU as a polity.