Reading and Writing Political Theory

Key information

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

Module overview

This module seeks to provide a structured, peer-assessed and peer-supported environment, in which students can begin to develop their dissertation.

It will provide students with tools to read, write, and structure theoretical arguments, and work through various methods of writing a theory dissertation. A small part of the module will be organised around reading and analysing existing theoretical texts, and the vast majority will be student-lead and will revolve both around the material they bring in, as steps towards developing their own arguments, and around their own texts, which will hopefully become part of their dissertation by the end of the year.

In small groups we will work on these texts and provide support, guidelines, but also critical reflections, that will allow students to form stronger, more focused arguments.

Objectives and learning outcomes

  • Learn how to develop a theoretical argument
  • Begin to develop and structure a dissertation chapter
  • Understand methodologies for studying and writing political theory such as contextualism, critical theory, deconstruction and comparative political theory
  • Develop writing skills through structured critical and constructive discussion and exchange of ideas wih peers


This module will be taught over 10 weeks with

  • 2-hours seminar per week
  • There will be two 6 hours practical classes and workshops

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: 25%
  • Assignment 2: 75%

Suggested reading

  • Stears, Mark and David Leopold, eds. 2008.1 Political Theory Methods and Approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ophir, Adi. 1991. Plato's Invisible Cities: Discourse and Power in the Republic. London:  Routledge.
  • Derrida, Jacques. 1974. Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.  Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.
  • Jenco, Leigh K. Murad Idris, and Megan C. Thomas. eds. 2019. The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Political Theory. Oxford:  Oxford University Press.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.