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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Core Texts in Political Theory (PLIT10059)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will examine the core texts from one political thinker for a full semester in order to provide a deep and detailed engagement with their thought. The thinker studied will vary from year-to-year. Thinkers selected will have made a profound contribution to political thinking and so students will have the opportunity to explore a significant body of thought through a sustained engagement with the primary texts from the selected thinker. The course will cover relevant historical and textual questions, but will focus on the arguments and concepts developed in the texts that have proved of enduring importance. This will help students develop skills of close textual reading, the ability to interrogate complex and extended arguments that are developed over the course multiple works, and provide the opportunity to reflect on the enduring legacies of major figures in political thought.
Course description This course gives student the chance to focus in depth on the original texts of one core thinker in the canon of political theory, broadly understood. Other courses, such as Political Thinkers give initial introductions to individual thinkers or give in-depth treatment of particular issues touching on a number of different thinkers. This course will be unique in guiding students through an engagement with the original text of one particular thinker, which may vary from year to year, in political theory.
For 2019-20 the particular thinker will be Marx. The course will be organized around the original texts of Marx, dealing with the themes in his thought as these emerge chronologically: such as alienation and the state in Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts and On the Jewish Question; the politics of class struggle in The 18th Brumaire; materialism and the philosophy of history in The German Ideology; and the analysis of capitalism in Capital: Volume 1.
The course will also encourage student to develop the key skill of facilitation. After the first week, led by the course convenor, students will take turns acting as facilitators each week, preparing key ideas, questions and activities for the session and keeping the discussion moving forward. The convenor will give feedback to each student about their facilitation at the end of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who have not taken Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World (PLIT08012), but have taken a similar course, should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Present written and verbal analysis of arguments from the primary texts in a clear, logical, and lucid form
  2. Identify accurately the main areas of dispute in debates on the selected thinker¿s writings
  3. Develop critical evaluations of arguments regarding the selected thinker¿s writings examined in the course
  4. Apply relevant theoretical positions from the primary and secondary texts studied to salient examples of politics and international relations
  5. Reflect critically and independently on the salience and relevance of the thinker¿s arguments for contemporary debates in politics and international relations.
Reading List
Since these is a course in reading core texts, the indicative readings consist of those core texts.

Examples of thinkers and their works studied on this course may include:

Habermas, Jürgen, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (Polity, 1990)

Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, ed. Christopher Brooke (Penguin 2016)

Habermas, Jürgen, Between Facts and Norms, (Polity, 1997)

Locke, John, Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration,(OUP, 2016)

Rawls, John, A Theory of Justice, rev. ed .(Harvard, 1999)

Rawls, John, Political Liberalism, (Columbia University Press, 2005)

In 2019-20 the Indicative Readings are:
Marx, Karl Early Writings (Penguin, 2000)

Marx, Karl Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Penguin, 1993)

Marx, Karl &Engels, Friedrich The German Ideology: Introduction to a Critique of Political Economy (Lawrence and Wishart Student Edition 1987)

Marx, Karl &Engels, Friedrich The Communist Manifesto (Penguin, 2015)

Marx, Karl The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (various editions)

Marx, Karl Capital: Critique of Political Economy Vol.1 (Penguin, 1990)

Marx, Karl The Civil War in France (Various editions)

Marx, Karl Dispatches for the New York Tribune: Selected Journalism of Karl Marx (Penguin, 2007)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking and analysis
Team work
Effective written and verbal communication
Effective research and analytical skills
Facilitation skills

Special Arrangements Special Arrangements for Entry: A quota of 45 students, with preference given in the following order:

(1) Politics Single Honours 4th year;
(2) International Relations Single Honours 4th year;
(3) Politics Joint Honours 4th year;
(4) Politics Single Honours 3rd year;
(5) International Relations Single Honours 3rd year;
(6) Politics Joint Honours 3rd year;
(7) Other SSPS students;
(8) Non-SSPS students

Please note: because of the high numbers of students enrolled, this course will almost certainly not be able to admit students from outside the College of Humanities and Social Science.
Keywordscore texts,politics,political thinkers
Course organiserDr Jamie Allinson
Course secretaryMr Daniel Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8253
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