20 Credits SPRING

Aims/Description: This module presents an overview of the major figures and themes in twentieth century continental political theory, ranging temporally from Max Weber to Jacques Derrida. In reflecting on the dynamics of modernity and rationalization, contemporary European political thought responds to the atrocities of Europe's age of total war. Much of this work is an attempt to come to grips with reason and unreason in the capitalist, industrialized, mass democracies of Europe in light of the legacies of two world wars and the rise of totalitarianism. Key themes include: the legacy of the Enlightenment, the role of technology in modern life, the bureaucratization of politics, the possibility of human freedom, collective memory and forgiveness and the role of philosophy in the aftermath of mass genocide. We will approach this material both historically and hermeutically in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of these responses to these problems.

Restrictions on availability: Restricted to students studying single and dual honours Politics degrees.

Teaching Methods: Seminars, Problem solving, Independent Study, Digital Content/Guided Learning
Assessment: Course work

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Politics and International Relations):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK