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Understanding Politics I: The Big Questions in Contemporary Europe

Dr Eric Gordy Room 323 e.gordy@ucl.ac.uk 020 7679 8728 Office hours: Tuesdays 3:00 5:00 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION The aim of this course is to introduce students to major contemporary political issues through the lens of political theory. Students will become familiar with some of the main lines of political conflict in contemporary European and global politics and with contending theoretical approaches to them. Through completing the written coursework requirement students will gain facility in theoretical analysis and familiarity with the standards of academic writing at the university level. OBJECTIVES At the end of this course students will have acquired a knowledge of the key issues considered and approaches used in contemporary theoretical dialogue related to politics, and will have gained facility in applying theoretical argument to contemporary political issues. The aims of the module are: To introduce students to theoretical issues and theoretical analysis in contemporary politics To equip students with knowledge of major contemporary theoretical approaches for use in further study of politics To provide experience in producing assessed written work at the university level

WRITTEN WORK Students must submit three essays of 1,500-2,000 words. All essays must be fully referenced and contain a full bibliography. Guidance on bibliographies is on Moodle. The final mark in the course will be calculated on the basis of the two highestmarked essays submitted, with each of these two valued at 50%. The mark for the essay receiving the lowest assessment will be discarded. All three essays must be submitted. Students who do not submit all three essays will be assessed as INCOMPLETE. Even if two essays are marked at a pass level, you cannot pass the course if you are Incomplete for the course work. If illness or other documented extenuating circumstances prevent you from submitting course work, it is possible that the deadlines may be extended or the requirement reduced in your case. It is very important that you speak to the

course organiser before the deadlines have expired. You must also keep your Departmental/Course Tutor informed. PENALTIES FOR LATENESS AND EXCESSIVE LENGTH The full allocated mark will be reduced by 5 percentage points for the first working day after the deadline for the submission of coursework. The mark will be reduced by a further 10 percentage points if coursework is submitted during the following six days. Coursework that is submitted later than seven days after the deadline, providing it is submitted before the end of the first week of term 3 for undergraduate courses, will be recorded as zero but the assessment will be considered to be complete. Assessed work that is longer than the prescribed wordcount should not be accepted for submission The word count should include the main text but not a bibliography or appendices. The work may then be resubmitted, noting that penalties for late submission will apply. For work which exceeds the upper word limit by 20% or more, a mark of zero will be recorded although the assessment will be considered to be complete. ASSESSMENT The final grade will be based on the marks for the top two essays of the three submitted. CLASSES Students must attend all classes. If you are ill, please contact the Politics and Sociology PA Sasha Aleksi in advance by e-mail (s.aleksic@ssees.ucl.ac.uk) or by phone on 020 7679 8773. She will report two unexplained absences to the Department Tutor. PLAGIARISM Plagiarism is defined as the presentation of another person's thoughts or words or artefacts or software as though they were a student's own. Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons must, therefore, be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and students should identify their sources as accurately and fully as possible. Students must make themselves aware of departmental guidelines and abide by them. Failure to observe any of the provisions of this policy or of approved departmental guidelines constitutes an examination offence under UCL and University


TOPIC SHEET The questions below are intended as topics for discussion and as potential essay topics. When doing the reading, make sure you can give a reasoned answer to the questions. Introduction to the course and topic What is theory? What role does theory play in the understanding of politics? How is theoretical explanation distinct from other types of explanation? In what respects does politics constitute a field of knowledge autonomous from other fields? In what respects does understanding of politics depend on knowledge from other fields? Is political science a science? How does Sartori understand the distinction between theory and lessthan-theory? In what ways does the narrative of World War II contribute to the legitimacy of contemporary European institutions? How widely shared and historically justified is the discourse of European values? In what ways has the narrative of World War II become instrumental? Does the constitutive status of World War II for European identity diminish as the events recede in time? How has the experience of real socialism contributed to expectations and disappointments in the post-Communist political environment? To what degree has the failure of post-1945 socialist regimes discredited political discourses related to equality and economic justice? To what degree does it make sense to think of post-Communist states as moving forward into liberal democracy or backward into oligarchy? What conditions led to the dismantling of post-1945 welfare states? How are contemporary social and political movements growing out of economic dissatisfaction distinct from cognate movements of the 1920s and 1930s? In what important ways is neoliberalism unlike liberalism and conservatism?

Theory, philosophy and the study of politics

World War II and the narrative of modern Europe

The Leninist legacy

Neo-liberalism and austerity

Globalisation What elements suggest that global culture may not be wholly global in character? What are some ways in which identity has taken a prominent role in internal politics of countries in the context of globalisation? What are some key differences between globalisation from above and from below? What factors account for a revaluation of ideas related to gender and orientation in the contemporary period? What factors account for retraditionalisation of gender in some parts of the post-Communist world? In what ways do conceptions of gender identity correspond with other social forces and social divisions? If all cores have peripheries and all peripheries have cores, is the distinction between cores and peripheries sustainable? How does the emergence of recently prominent economically and politically powerful states alter conceptions of core and periphery? Are there observable shifts in the relations of power among states producing raw materials, states providing labour to finish raw materials, and states concentrating on the organisation of production and marketing of finished products? What factors contribute to the sense that people are not represented by conventional political parties and structures? Are the new movements new? How do they draw upon and how do they depart from existing political legacies? How persuasive is the contention that contemporary politics is postdemocratic? Can a general direction of movement in global history be postulated? What are the main forces in contention in the world contributing to largescale historical change? Has the age of revolutions ended?

Gender, orientation and retraditionalisation

Cores, peripheries and semiperipheries

New ideologies and political movements

Today in the history of the world

In addition to the books listed as required readings, students are also expected to keep informed about ongoing events by following news and analysis and by maintaining a familiarity with the current contents of academic journals and other publications in political theory. Sources regularly consulted may include but are not limited to: Academic journals o o o o o Contemporary Political Theory European Journal of Political Theory Journal of International Political Theory Political Theory Theory and Society

It will also be essential to remain current with events in the news and ways in which events are discussed, both generally and in the region on which SSEES concentrates. Read a reputable newspaper or online source every day. Try to read sources from several different countries. Remember that tabloids and free papers are likely to give a superficial selection of agency-produced news; concentrate on news sources that have their own correspondents. General and introductory texts Clohesy, A., Isaacs, S. and Sparks, C. (2009). Contemporary political theorists in context. London: Routledge Farrelly, C. (2004). Introduction to contemporary political theory. Sage Hobsbawm, E. (1994). The age of extremes: The short twentieth century, 1914-1991. London: M Joseph Mazower, M. (1998). Dark Continent: Europes Twentieth Century. London: Penguin Wolff, Jonathan (2006). Contemporary political philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press

WEEKLY READINGS AND COURSEWORK Session 1 (1 October): Introduction to the course and topic There is no required reading for the first session, though students will probably want to spend some time becoming familiar with the general background readings. The first session will provide a general overview of the topics and themes to be explored during the semester, the requirements of the course, and an introduction to the challenges of theoretical thinking and writing. Session 2 (8 October): Theory, philosophy and the study of politics Essential Sartori, G. What is politics, Political theory, Vol. 1, No. 1. (Feb., 1973), pp. 5-26 Sartori, G. Philosophy, theory and science of politics, Political theory, Vol. 2, No. 2. (May, 1974), pp. 133-162 Recommended Smith, G. (2009). Through a glass, darkly: The vision and visions of political theory. British journal of politics and international relations 11, pp. 360-375 Thomasssen, L. (2010). Political theory in a provisional mode. Critical review of international social and political philosophy 13:4, pp. 453-473 Session 3 (15 October): World War II and the narrative of modern Europe Essential Judt, T. (2000) The past is another country: Myth and memory in postwar Europe. Part IV of Deak, I., Gross, J. and Judt, T. (eds), The politics of retribution in Europe: World War II and its aftermath. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 293-324 Moore, B. (1966). The democratic route to modern society and Revolution from above and fascism. Chapters 7 and 8 of Social origins of dictatorship and democracy. Boston: Beacon, pp. 413-432, 433-452 Schwartz, B. (1996). Memory as a cultural system: Abraham Lincoln in World War II. American sociological review 61:5, pp. 908-927

Recommended Aminzade, R. (1992). Historical sociology and time. Sociological methods and research 20:4, pp. 456-480 Eder, K. (2006). Europes borders: The narrative construction of the boundaries of Europe. European journal of social theory 9:2, pp. 255-271 Session 4 (22 October): The Leninist legacy Essential Gelman, V. (2012). Subversive institutions, informal governance, and contemporary Russian politics. Communist and post-Communist studies 45:3-4, pp. 295-303 LaPorte, J. and Lussier, D. (2011). What is the Leninist legacy? Assessing twenty years of scholarship. Slavic review 70:3, pp. 637-654 Whitefield, S. (2002). Political cleavages and post-Communist politics. Annual review of political science 5, pp. 181-200 Recommended Hansen, S. (1995). The Leninist legacy and institutional change. Comparative political studies 28, pp. 306-314 Janos, A. (2001). From eastern empire to western hegemony: East central Europe under two international regimes. East European politics and societies 15:1, pp. 221-249 Jowitt, K. (1992). New world order: The Leninist extinction. Berkeley and London: The University of California Press iek, Slavoj (2002). A plea for Leninist intolerance. Critical inquiry 28, pp. 542-566 ESSAY 1 IS DUE TUESDAY 29 OCTOBER Session 5 (29 October): Neo-liberalism and austerity Essential Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapters 3 and 6, pp. 64-86, 152-182 Kuisma, M. (2008). Rights or privileges? The challenge of globalization to the values of citizenship. Citizenship studies 12:6, pp. 613-627

Recommended Brown, W. (2006). American nightmare: Neoliberalism, neoconservatism and de-democratization. Political theory 34:6, pp. 690-714 Heron, T. (2008). Globalization, neoliberalism and the exercise of human agency. International journal of politics, culture and society 20:1, pp. 85101 Pierson, P. (2002), Coping with permanent austerity: Welfare state restructuring in affluent democracies. Revue franaise de sociologie 43:2, pp. 369-406 Session 6 (12 November): Globalisation Essential Casanova, J. (2001). Religion, the new millennium, and globalization. Sociology of religion 62:4, pp. 415-441 Mignolo, W. (2000). The many faces of cosmo-polis: Border thinking and critical cosmopolitanism. Public culture 12:3, pp. 721-748 Milanovi, B. (2003). The two faces of globalization: Against globalization as we know it. World development 31:4, pp. 667-683 Recommended Clapham, C. (2002). The challenge to the state in a globalized world. Development and change 33:5, pp. 775-795 Harrison, G. (2010). Practices of intervention: Repertoires, habits and conduct in neoliberal Africa. Journal of intervention and statebuilding 4, pp. 433-452 Machida, S. (2012). Does globalization render people more ethnocentric? Globalization and peoples views on cultures. American journal of economics and sociology 71:2, pp. 436-469 Session 7 (19 November): Gender, orientation and retraditionalisation Essential Anderson, J. (2011). Conservative Christianity, the Global South, and the battle over sexual orientation. Third world quarterly 32:9, pp. 1589-1605 Majstorovi, D. (2011). Femininity, patriarchy and resistance in postwar

Bosnia and Herzegovina. International review of sociology 21:2, pp. 277299 Nagel, J. (2000). Ethnicity and sexuality. Annual review of sociology 26, pp. 107-133 Recommended Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. London: Routledge Seidman, S. (1991) Romantic longings: Love in America, 1830-1980. London: Routledge Cheah, P. and Grosz, E. (1998). The future of sexual difference: An interview with Judith Butler and Drucilla Cornell. Diacritics 28:1, pp. 19-42 ESSAY 2 IS DUE TUESDAY 26 NOVEMBER Session 8 (26 November): Cores, peripheries and semiperipheries Essential Lees, N. (2012). The dimensions of the divide: Vertical differentiation, international inequality and North-South stratification in international relations theory. Cambridge review of international affairs 25:2, pp. 209230 Lustick, I. (1997). The absence of Middle Eastern great powers: Political backwardness in historical perspective. International organization 51:4, pp. 653-683 Recommended Blagojevi, M. (2010). Empowerment from the semiperiphery

perspective. Development 53:2, pp. 190-193 Mack, A. (1975). Why big nations lose small wars: The politics of asymmetric conflict. World politics 27:2, pp. 175-200 Terlouw, K. (2002). The semiperipheral space in the world system. Review Fernand Braudel Center 25:1, pp. 1-22 FILM: Fortress Europe (elimir ilnik, 2000)

Session 9 (3 December): New ideologies and political movements Essential

Allen, C. (2011). Opposing Islamification or promoting Islamophobia? Understanding the English Defence League. Patterns of prejudice 45:4, pp. 279-294

Mete, V. (2010). Four types of anti-politics: Insights from the Italian case. Modern Italy 15:1, pp. 37-61

Swyngedouw, E. (2011). Interrogating post-democratization: Reclaiming egalitarian political spaces. Political geography 30:7, pp. 370-380

Recommended Barnett, C. (2004). Deconstructing radical democracy: Articulation, representation, and being-with-others. Political geography 23, pp. 503528 Razsa, M. and Kurnik, A. (2012). The Occupy movement in iek's hometown: Direct democracy and a politics of becoming. American ethnologist 39:2, pp. 238-258 Session 10 (10 December): Today in the history of the world Essential Alexander, J. (1994). Modern, anti-, post- and neo-: How social theorists have tried to understand the new world of our time. Zeitschrift fr Soziologie 23:3, pp. 165-197 Dussel, E. (2000). Europe, modernity, and Eurocentrism. Nepantia 1:3, pp. 465-478 Recommended Heller, A. (1992). A philosophy of history in fragments. London: Blackwell Mazower, M. (1998). Dark Continent: Europes Twentieth Century. London: Penguin Todorov, T. (2003). Hope and memory: Lessons from the twentieth century. Princeton University Press ESSAY 3 IS DUE TUESDAY 14 JANUARY