SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Political Theory

Module Code:
The course first examines the rich tradition of liberal theory both in terms of schools of thought (e.g. utilitarianism, deontological positions etc.) and major conceptual controversies (freedom, equality). It then looks at critiques of that tradition from radical and communitarian perspectives. The theoretical arguments are then used to illuminate a number of contemporary political controversies, notably democracy, rights and multiculturalism.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On completion of the course students will have:

  • A grounding in the western tradition of political theory
  • Familiarity with questions of interpretation
  • The ability to deploy theoretical concepts in a variety of domains of application


  • 2 hour lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week

Method of assessment

Assessment is 30% coursework and 70% unseen examination.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules