This MA programme provides you with a thorough grounding in the classics of Social and Political Thought and a deep and varied engagement with their 20th and 21st Century offshoots. This course addresses a range of key concepts and ideas that are central to the analysis of contemporary society, politics and culture, including debates over the basis of contemporary capitalism, neoliberalism, biopolitics, ideology, and the fundamental question of what it means to be ‘social’ and/or ‘human’.
The degree is structured around two core modules. The first of these is State, Capitalism and Market (convened by Professor Nicholas Gane), which uses theoretical resources such as Michel Foucault’s writings on biopolitics to think analytically and critically about capitalism and its recurrent crises. This module looks in particular at the recent financial crisis and the role this crisis has played in the reconfiguration of structural relations between the market and the state. A key part of this module is the critical analysis of political-economic discourses of neoliberalism that argue for the sovereignty of markets and economics over all things ‘social’. The second core module is Politics and Social Theory (convened by Dr Charles Turner) uses the work a wide-range of classical thinkers (for example, de Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim and Weber) and Twentieth Century writers (Arendt, Schmitt and Rorty) to consider the possibility of developing a sociological understanding of politics.
Beyond these two core modules, you can pursue your own research interests and specialisms by choosing four modules from a wide range of options, and then progressing to research and write their own 15,000 word dissertation.