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Regular version of the site

The Political Theory

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
2 year, 3 module


Course Syllabus


The main goal of this course is to introduce students to some of the key concepts and controversies in what is often referred to as international political theory. This is the political theory about the ‘international realm’ between and beyond the borders of nation-states. The course is divided into two parts. Part one is entitled ‘Concepts in World Politics’. It focuses on key concepts of international political theory. Students will learn about why these concepts matter, why they are contested (i.e. what controversies surround each of them) and what these vigorous debates and disagreements reveal about the character of world politics, and the task of international political theory. The second part of the course is entitled ‘Justice Among Nations’ and explores the question of whether international justice is genuine or largely arbitrary. It asks: to what extent are nations bound to consider the good of other nations? To come up with their own answers, students will read across several centuries of international political thought, from Thucydides in the 5th Century BC up to the present day. They will learn to think through present-day controversies in world politics surrounding the protection of human rights and just war.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The main goal of this course is to introduce students to some of the key concepts and controversies in what is often referred to as international political theory.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Able to think critically and interpret the experience (personal and of other persons), relate to professional and social activities
  • Work with information: find, define and use the information from different sources which required for solving of research and professional problems (including the system approach)
  • Able to identify scientific subject
  • Student is familiar with the basics of International Humanitarian Law
  • Student is familiar with notions of Fear, Power, Necessity, and Justice
  • Student is familiar with notion of liberalism
  • Student is familiar with connection between human rights' development and postcolonialism
  • Student is familiar with concept of sovereignty
  • Student is familiar with concept of power
  • Student is familiar with concept of identity
  • Student is familiar with concept of anarchy
  • Student is capable of reporting the results of the information retrieval and analysis, academic or applied research she/he has conducted: - in various genres (including reviews, policy papers, reports and publications pertaining to socio-political subject matter); - and depending on the target audience
  • Student is capable of posing research problems relevant to the study of political phenomena and political processes; setting particular research tasks; and putting together a research design
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Concept Analysis
  • Power
  • Anarchy
  • Sovereignty
  • Conclusions & Exam Preparation
  • Identity
  • Introduction & Concept Analysis: Fear, Power, Necessity, and Justice
  • Essay Preparation
  • Just War Theories then and now, and International Humanitarian Law
  • The Crisis of Liberalism
  • Human Rights and Postcolonialism
  • Conclusion: The New Non-State Actors?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Written Participation
    For every seminar in the course, students are expected to submit a maximum 200-word set of answers to two seminar questions. They are to choose these from a selection of between three and five questions for each topic. Answers can be written by hand or printed out. But they must be submitted in person at the designated seminar, unless agreed otherwise with the course convenor. The idea of these assignments is two-fold: first, to test if the students have mastered all the essential readings for the class (and at least ONE of the optional readings); second, to have students’ practice and improve their skills in researching and composing written answers to challenging questions.
  • non-blocking Oral Participation
  • non-blocking Essay
    Students are to write a 2000-word essay from a choice of set questions on international justice.
  • non-blocking Exam
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.195 * Essay + 0.35 * Exam + 0.13 * Oral Participation + 0.325 * Written Participation


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Duncan Bell. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy by David Estlund (ed.). Oxford : Oxford University Press , 2012 . 446pp., £95.00, ISBN 9780195376692 The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy by George Klosko (ed.). Oxford : Oxford University Press , 2012 . 840pp., £85.00, ISBN 9780199238804. Political Studies Review, (1), 94. https://doi.org/10.1111/1478-9302.12041_11
  • Goodin, R. E., & Pettit, P. (2019). Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology (Vol. Third edition). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=2100217
  • The Oxford handbook of political theory / ed. by John S. Dryzek . (2006). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.121392570

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Ramos, C. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Political Science. Antropológicas, 12, 87. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=asn&AN=87654451