Politics of Culture

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 3
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

The module shall examine debates in the discipline of politics about the role of “culture” in politics – as practices of meaning-making in politics; as a series of everyday practices and rituals with implicit (or overt) political content; and as cultural products (art, films, etc.) both whose making, and content reflects a specific politics.

To do so, the module will require three activities outside class:

  • A visit to a diasporic enclave in London – as the basis of a discussion of questions of identity-making, immigration, and the political economy of “cultural” practices (restaurants, specific shops catering to specific communities, etc.).
  • Selection of an overtly political film, or art piece, or theatrical production – to discuss what politics goes into the production of such artwork; the ways in which the overt and implicit politics that such artwork espouses can be critically understood and explained.
  • Not mandatory, but highly recommended: A visit to the British Museum – as the basis of discussing Orientalism, but also Nationalism and empire in the politics of archaeology and artistic accumulation.

The module will also examine the role of meaning-making and semiotics in social movements and political mobilisation, in the production of hegemony, and critically assess outdated and problematic “national culture” or “culture of violence” paradigms. 

Objectives and learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the themes, debates and issues around “culture” and cultural production in the discipline of politics
  • Examine critically and assess a form of cultural production and the politics it implicitly or explicitly espouses
  • Assess critically the role of theory and politics as context for creation of the arts or cultural practices
  • Produce critical writing about cultural practices and objects


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

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: 20%
  • Assignment 2: 30%
  • Exam: 50%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.