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Democracy & Its Critics (Module)

Module description

The term ‘democracy’ has passed into the vocabulary of everyday life, reaching beyond the sphere of formal politics into areas as diverse as education, work and family life. Fundamentally, most people who talk about democracy hold the assumption that it is a ‘good thing’, which is to be promoted as widely as possible. This is an important point; a fully-functioning democracy is held as proof of the success of developed societies, even as justification for war against nations which do not reach the democratic ideal. And so it might seem remarkable that there are those who would argue against its value as an idea, and as a means of organising society, yet an extensive body of literature has developed which raises a number of serious objections to many of the established features of democratic thought. It is this tension which provides the focus of this module. This module aims to bridge democratic theory and practice. It traces the development of the ideas of democracy with a particular emphasis on the institutions, past and present, which have been influenced by these evolving theories. Students taking the module will be encouraged to develop their knowledge and critical understanding of the place of democratic ideas and practice in modern political thought.

*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.

Staff information

Dr Rod Dacombe

Teaching pattern


Module assessment - more information

1,500-word essay (15%), 3,000-word essay (85%)

Key information

Module code 6SSPP306

Credit level 6

Assessment coursework

Credit value 15

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module No