also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Lancaster’s Politics and Sociology degree is taught by academic staff who are shaping the study of Politics and Sociology today. You’ll develop a wide-ranging understanding of how political ideas and institutions shape the way societies are organised and have the opportunity to relate your interest in social and cultural themes to real world political events and current affairs.
In your first year, you’ll follow the core Politics and Governance in the Contemporary World and Introduction to Sociology modules. You’ll increasingly specialise, with second-year subjects including Politics of Development; Modern Political Thought; Understanding Social Thought, and Research Skills and Techniques. Your final year options cover topics such as Africa and Global Politics; Islamic Politics; Contemporary Issues in Human Rights, The Chinese Century?; Terror; and Doing Sociological Research.
A Level ABB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects.
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
The Sociology 101 Course introduces you to sociological issues, ideas, concepts, evidence and argument by examining some key aspects of living in the contemporary world. By the end of the course, you should have a basic capacity for conceptual analysis and for applying sociological reasoning to empirical examples. This will allow you to evaluate what you see around you with new critical skills. The lectures are designed to provide you with a basic background in the topics being reviewed.
You will be introduced to debates and issues related to various aspects of contemporary societies and encouraged to explore ideas and undertake analysis. In this respect, it is perhaps better to think of sociology as an interpretative scientific endeavour rather than producing definitive findings or laws, although it may do this too. Sociology is an exciting subject. It can seem confusing, especially to those of you who are coming to it for the first time. Sociology will seem to cover every topic in society, there are different kinds of sociology, and many different areas where sociological research matters, from politics to design.
We will help you develop new skills in thinking sociologically. The course will stimulate interest for students who have not done an Advanced Level course in Sociology, whilst providing a challenge to those who have.
More specifically, the course's aims are threefold. First, you will learn about various aspects of contemporary societies and key concepts (e.g. society, identity, modernity, globalization). Each block introduces a key area of sociological inquiry and long-standing as well as newly emerging research questions. Many sociologists at Lancaster are renowned for their creative and groundbreaking research and each module relates to one or more of the Department's research areas, so you will experience major figures in international Sociology and get a taste of the department's current teaching and research portfolio.
Second, you will learn basic study and research skills. These include: taking notes, using the library, conducting sociological research, analysing written and spoken arguments and empirical evidence, writing, using the internet as a research tool, working and discussing in groups, preparing and making oral presentations.
Third, you will learn to think sociologically. That is to say that you will be able to identify social dimensions of contemporary life, summarise sociological ideas and arguments, and analyse social phenomena from a sociological perspective. In short, you will begin to think differently about how we lead our lives in the present day world.
This module introduces students to some of the key areas of Politics and International Relations. It will provide a basic introduction and a foundation for future study, as well as expand and develop knowledge into new areas.
The module tells a story about the 20th century that enables students to make sense of the 21st century world. Beginning with the consequences of the First World War, the module introduces students to the events and ideas that have transformed societies in complex ways: the evolution of the welfare state; the problems of democracy; increasingly global formations of governance; the transformation from Cold War geopolitics to the 21st century’s War on Terror; and the emergence of new issues such as global warming, amongst a wide range of other issues.
Students are introduced to the research concerns of members of the department, as well as setting the scene for modules offered at advanced stages in the degree structure.
This module is organised around a range of cross-cutting methodological issues that are addressed in relation to established methods (such as interviewing and quantitative surveys). Discussions and activities incorporate a range of methodological approaches using visual, qualitative, and quantitative data. Students are provided with a clear outline of the module structure and topics at the outset, and in-class activities will be designed to engage students in active learning with ample opportunities for formative feedback.
This course introduces the development of social theory from the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century to contemporary debates about the character of knowing.
This course offers the opportunity to learn skills in reading, analysing, comparing, and critically evaluating major social theories of the rise of modern societies.
Social and cultural theories of the body have transformed thinking in the last two decades. Indeed, accounts of the body and embodiment have moved from being a marginal aspect of social and theory to a central feature of how we understand and experience media culture and society. Through a series of case-studies, this module explores some of the key developments in sociological accounts of the body and the body politic (or the nation state). Throughout this module we will focus on issues of inequality, stigma, power, in/visibility, surveillance, disability, 'race' and ethnicity. Examining the body as a site of social control, and as a repository of shifting classifications, we will consider bodies which do not easily fit prevailing social and cultural norms, bodies which are perceived to be ‘out of place’, abject or deviant and bodies imagined and employed as sites of resistance and protest.
As well as gaining an understanding of some key social, cultural and political issues you will develop critical thinking, reading, writing skills and practical skills. We will go on course field-trips (for example to Lancaster Castle in order to think about the history of punishment) and you will participate in lively and challenging workshops. As part of the assessment for this course you will make a short film in response to themes and issues examined or provoked by lectures, screenings, reading and seminar discussions. This course is interdisciplinary and is open to students from any discipline, but has been particularly designed for Sociology, Media and Cultural Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies students.
This half-unit module will introduce students to sociological thinking on climate change. Debates about climate change are shifting, and beginning to make much stronger links between a vast and complex planetary perspective (a globe in crisis) and the private sphere (the home, low-carbon lifestyles, urban living, consumer demand, etc.). In this context, social theorists have been considering what sociological thinking can offer to contemporary debates on climate change issues. The module aims to introduce students to a range of new and emerging sociological analyses which examine: climate change and social change; new subjectivities, institutions and collectives under climate change; climate activism; dynamics of crisis and denial; the contested politics of climate change science; the global political economy of climate change; utopias and dystopias of climate change.
The aim of this module is to offer students from a wide range of backgrounds the opportunity to engage with the most important debates and issues in the study of the politics of the Middle East and Asia, and to locate and contextualise them within wider debates and scholarship of global politics. The module aims to develop enhance critical understanding of a series of key issues in the politics of the contemporary Middle East and Asia, as well as familiarising students with a wide range of case studies.
The module will typically include the following topics:
This module explores how consumption, advertising, branding and promotion shape society. In the module we will ask questions such as:
This module explores the analysis of contemporary economic problems and issues. It will help you develop a knowledge of the analysis deployed by policy makers and by media commentators when presenting potential solutions to a range of contemporary economic challenges. At the end of the module you should better understand the character of economic debates, be able to account for a range of (political) positions on the market economy and have some experience of the interaction between political and economic analyses both in academic analysis and in more general policy debates. More generally, this module is intended to demystify the debates about economics in the media, in political debates, in specialised policy prescriptions and help you develop a nuanced appreciation of your own analyses of contemporary market society.
This module explores the role of friendship in society. Classical and contemporary sociological accounts often claim that social bonds have been eroded or that personal relationships and community have become less stable and more fluid. Sociology has focused most attention on family ties and kinship in exploring these questions. But a focus on friendship can offer new perspectives on society.
This module will ask: What does friendship mean today? What form of social bond is friendship? Has social change impacted on friendship and vice versa?
Contemporary women’s and men’s lives are vastly different from previous generations, yet there are certain patterns of inequality, gender difference, and normative sexuality that continue to be reproduced. This course explores and interrogates the workings of gender and sexuality in contemporary society by considering a range of sociological and feminist explanations. The focus is on multiple formations of gender, sexuality, identity and embodiment. The course will analyse power relations among women (differentiated by class, ‘race’, ethnicity, sexuality and nationality) as well as between men and women. The course is taught in workshop format and involves lively debate and lectures and analysis of readings, films, images and news and popular media. In term 2 you complete and present a group project based on independent research.
The course is divided into 4 thematic sections.
You will have the opportunity to: 1) learn skills in reading, analysing, and critically evaluating theories of gender difference and inequality; 2) to practice formulating your own sociological questions about gender and sexuality; 3) develop your skills in group work and oral presentation.
This module aims to introduce and familiarise students to the interplay between politics, society and religion in the world's largest democracy, India. At a time when India is emerging as a global power and economic powerhouse despite persistent poverty and various socio-political fissures, a critical balance must be struck in the understanding between its potential and its problems. India offers powerful lessons on the challenges and achievements of democracy in a deeply pluralistic and unequal society.
An examination of these issues opens up conceptual preconceptions about democracy, religion, secularism, discrimination, globalisation and political mobilisation, which tend to be structured by knowledge of Western polities. The particular issues concerning large populations of many different religions and huge social differences offer pathways of understanding to many pressing global issues.
Some of the main themes covered include democracy, religion and social change, as well as an exploration of the religious minorities and caste politics and Dalits in India.
The principal objective of this module is to provide a relatively comprehensive and integrated foundation to the study of international relations by introducing students to its basic conceptual vocabulary and theoretical concerns and by applying this conceptual knowledge to an understanding of changes and developments in the international system.
The module covers the historical development of the discipline in the 20th century into the 21st century, moving from the orthodoxy that has come to dominate mainstream Anglo-American international relations (Realism and Liberalism) through to the various challenges that have emerged from critical schools of thought. The module examines how different theories of international relations illuminate and interrogate some of the central ethico-political problems of the 'international' in modern history.
This module provides amongst a range of other issues: a study of war, its causes and consequences; violence at personal and structural levels within society (especially racism); positive definitions of peace; and misperceptions and enemy images through the media.
The module investigates and examines theoretical and practical issues surrounding peace and violence within modern society. It also examines the conditions of peace and war, assessing the scope for conflict resolution, non-violence and reconciliation. The first term introduces the main approaches within Peace Studies, exploring the development of ideas in the field as they bear on the roots of violence and understandings of peace and peace-making. The second term applies this thinking to contemporary conflicts, focusing on policies of conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
The module is taught in a non-dogmatic and interdisciplinary manner, encouraging students to develop their own perspectives and conclusions following discussions and debates throughout the year.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
The aim of this module is to provide a broad grounding in some important aspects of the discipline of politics that are conceived of as both an attempt to understand the nature of politics and to assess the worth of various political arrangements. It involves consideration of notions such as politics, citizenship, democracy, government, state, welfare, individualism, utilitarianism, conservatism, socialism and, social democracy, together with an examination of the various ways in which political studies have been understood as a disciplined investigation of things political. The module covers four broad topics: freedom, markets and the state; citizenship, nationalism and democracy; equality and welfare; and politics and political science.
The module is divided into two sections over two terms. In the first term students will read, examine and discuss thinkers who make a contribution to the understanding of the notions of liberty and the individual (Hobbes, Locke, J S Mill, and Hayek). In the second term students will explore the thought of thinkers who are associated with the ideas of equality and community (Rousseau, Marx, the Fabians, and Rawls).
This module considers some of the difficulties involved in gaining knowledge about human societies. It focuses especially on economics and politics, disciplines which raise some of the largest questions about society – for example: Who gets what? Who rules whom? Can individual choices generate social change?
In this module students will not address such questions empirically, but instead step back to ask what sort of methods have been used to answer them, what sorts of modes of explanation or understanding are appropriate, and what assumptions are built into the ways economists and political scientists frame their enquiries. The aim of the module, then, is to critically examine methods and assumptions in both disciplines, in order to appreciate the scope and limits of their claims to knowledge.
This module introduces students to the main approaches to development. It provides students with an overview of the main theoretical approaches, especially modernisation theory, world systems analysis, feminist theories, and post-colonialism. It relates these theories to issues and case studies including the debt question, the impact of globalisation, global governance, corporate social responsibility, poverty and inequality, social movements and the activities of NGOs.
The module comprises two interrelated parts. The first term deals with the main theoretical approaches to development. Topics here include global integration, disengagement, democracy-autocracy, aid-trade, the case of drugs, Islam, southern organisations, and theories of modernisation and dependency.
The second term pursues links between the conceptual issues raised in term one and connects them to global- and national-focused perspectives on the politics of development. The instability of third world states will be examined in terms of competing legacies from the pre-colonial and colonial periods and high social expectations of development. Perspectives and examples will be drawn from Africa and Latin America.
This module examines the origins, workings and policies of the European Union. It begins by considering the treaties that led to the contemporary union and focuses on the key strains of thought that have given rise to contemporary debates about the form the European Union ought to take.
At a time of unprecedented financial crisis and the prospect of a British exit from the EU itself, the module offers a comprehensive focus on all key issues from European politics, government, and economics, to public policy. It includes an analysis of the process and dynamics of European integration, especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union; an account of the various European institutions which have developed (including the work of the Commission in Brussels), a discussion of key public policy areas (with an emphasis on the European Social Model) and finally a focus on European party politics, covering influential European ideologies such as Social Democracy, Christian Democracy and also Euro-scepticism.
This module aims to deepen students' understanding of the major ideas, arrangements, policies and controversies which have characterised post-war British politics.
The module examines the evolution of the politics of the United Kingdom from an era broadly characterised by consensus and stability (1945-70) to one which has proved much more turbulent in a variety of ways (1970 onwards). This examination is set within the context of rival political traditions and of competing theories of representative government. Topics covered in the first term include changes in electoral behaviour and developments in the political parties, as well as consideration of the problems of governing the component parts of the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). In the second term the focus is on the key institutions of central government (parliament and the executive) and on the UK's changing relationship with Europe. The last part of the course examines the development of public policy in the areas of welfare and the economy.
This course explores the question of how information and communications technologies, in their multiple forms, figure in our everyday lives. The aim of the course is to develop an appreciation for the range of experiences affected by digital media, including the progressive expansion of life online, and the increasingly intimate relations between life online and off. We’ll explore global divisions of digital labour; hactivism. The course will consider the new possibilities that the changing social infrastructure of digital technologies afford, while also learning to look at the rhetorics and practices of the virtual with a questioning and critical eye. Throughout the course we’ll be attentive to issues of gender, race and other marks of sameness and difference as they operate among humans, and between humans and machines.
African states are among the poorest, most artificial in the world. This means their relations with the global system have a critical impact on African politics from the global to the local level.
This module aims to:
This module provides a historical and thematic introduction to the issues facing Africa in the international system today. The module is divided into four sections. The first focuses on the impact of colonialism on shaping the economy, the state and perceptions of race. The second section examines the first four decades of independence. The third and fourth look at key contemporary issues such as HIV/AIDS and actors such as China and South Africa.
This module presents a detailed analysis of the major developments in British foreign policy since 1945. It explains these developments within a global context, offering rival interpretations of Britain's changing role and status. The major themes include: the consequences of Britain's participation in the Second World War; the retreat from Empire after 1945; the 'special relationship' with the United States; and the prolonged attempt to redefine Britain's global role in the context of perceived economic and geopolitical decline. Understand the major developments in Britain's role in the world since the Second World War.
The syllabus will include the following topics:
China's rise is commonly understood as a key factor that will shape future world order. In this seminar-based module students will become familiar with different approaches to understanding China's rise, and critically evaluate the opportunities and challenges this poses to both China and the surrounding world. In each seminar, students will consider a key issue in China's relation to the world from different perspectives.
Issues that will be explored include: the possibility of an alternative modernity; sources of party-state legitimacy; Chinese nationalism; the limits of Chinese identity; new tools of China's soft power; the Chinese school of International Relations theory; questions of territorial integrity; and Chinese ideas of world order and the China model. This module will thus offer students an opportunity to discuss familiar concepts like nationalism, democracy and modernity in the context of post-Mao era China. Students enhance their understanding of the complexity of issues in contemporary China, and critically examine conceptual tools of political analysis in the Chinese context.
All sociologists are supposed to know their classics but most only know them from second or third hand summaries. In this course we offer the opportunity for advanced students to have an intimate encounter with one of the core texts by one of the classics, texts that are referred to all the time in the social sciences. The text will change on an annual basis and in 2014/15 the module studied Zygmunt Bauman’s prize-winning book Modernity and the Holocaust (1989). In this collection of closely interlinked essays, Bauman makes the disturbing claim that, far from being some momentary regression to barbarism by a brain-washed population, the Holocaust was very much a ‘creature’ of modern society. Indeed, he argues that the social and personality structures that enabled the Holocaust to occur are very much a part of systems, processes and logics which continue into the present. In provocatively challenging our comfortable, complacent ‘civilised’ existence today, Bauman poses fascinating and vital questions about responsibility, ethics, co-operation and conformity, and our individual and collective courage to confront authority and violence. We will use Bauman’s book as a point of departure for exploring some central debates and key writings in Holocaust studies.
This module introduces students to human rights as a political and legal concept. It provides a critical overview of contemporary debates in the field, without losing sight of key theoretical questions. What are human rights? What is their source? In what sense are they universal and inalienable? Following a discussion of philosophical and historical foundations the module will examine the post-World War II international legal regime for the protection of human rights. It will explore the political implications of enshrining human rights at the international level, and engage with questions of culture and diversity, development and globalization, poverty and health.
Students will have the opportunity to research and discuss such issues as gender-based violence, torture in the ‘war on terror’, treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. These empirical case studies of recent human rights struggles and controversies will shed light on the complexity of global human rights politics in the early 21st century.
This module introduces students to key issues in Middle East politics today. It explores the people, society and politics of the region and the role that religion, ethnicity, gender and class have played in shaping contemporary issues. It examines the major internal and external actors in the region; conflict and peace; the geo-strategic importance of the region; issues of political economy; political change and reform; the issue of identities in the Middle East and ideologies around this; the emergence of political Islam; rising anti-Americanism; 9/11 and the fall-out in the region from the 'war on terror', the 'Arab Spring' and the unfolding revolutions.
Through class discussions, completion of coursework and the exam, students should be able to understand the complexities of society in the Middle East, and show an in-depth understanding of key themes and issues in the contemporary Middle East.
This module explores the analysis of the corporation in the global political economy. It will help students develop their knowledge of the character and practices of corporations and place that analysis within the wider context of analyses of International Political Economy.
At the end of the module students will better understand the variance and multi-faceted character of the corporate (global) sector, be able to account for a range of (political) positions about corporations and have some experience of the interaction between political economic and legal analyses. The module overall is intended to demystify the corporation as a political economic actor and support students in developing a nuanced appreciation of their own analyses of the role and practices of (global) corporations.
This module uses case studies of disasters (technical and social) to explore these questions and what sociology can teach us about them.
This module provides an opportunity for students to choose a topic related to some aspect of Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Religious Studies which particularly interests them, and to pursue it in depth. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. The intention is that students will develop their research skills and their ability to work at length under their own direction.
Students are expected to start thinking seriously about the 9,000-10,000 word dissertation towards the end of the Lent term of their second year, and to submit a provisional topic by the end of that term. Work should be well advanced by Christmas in the third year. The completed dissertation must be submitted by the end of the Lent term in the third year.
This module aims to allow students to pursue independent in-depth studies of a topic of their choice, within the scope of their scheme of study. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work.
Students will develop their employability and research skills, and their ability to work independently at length under their own direction with input from an academic supervisor.
The external collaboration will enhance students’ ability to reflect on the impact of academic work. One option is to incorporate work done through the Richardson Institute Internship Programme, but students may also discuss other forms of collaboration with their supervisor.
This module aims to allow students to pursue independent in-depth studies of a topic of their choice, within the scope of their scheme of study. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. Students will develop their employability and research skills, and their ability to work independently at length under their own direction with input from an academic supervisor.
The field work element will enhance students’ ability to reflect on the impact of academic work. One option is to incorporate a study trip organised by the University, such as the LUSU Involve Overseas Programme, but students may also discuss other forms of field studies with their supervisor.
This module focuses on the most fundamental component of democratic political systems – elections. In particular, it analyses key political behaviour issues related to models of voting, electoral system design, and party organisation. It adopts a broadly comparative approach, with an emphasis on advanced industrial democracies in the west – especially the UK, but also other parts of the EU and the US.
The module will examine the merits of different voting behaviour models; the politics of electoral system design and choice; the rise of anti-party / anti-politics sentiment; as well as the modern methods parties utilise as they attempt to market themselves to voters. There will also be classes on developments in party organisation; contemporary party ideologies; the nature of party system change and continuity; and finally the relevance of public opinion to modern government and public policy.
The module aims to help students to gain an in-depth understanding of the main historical events, processes and actors that have shaped and continue to shape political dynamics in the Persian Gulf.
Specific focus will be upon the key challenges to peace and security within the region, but the module will also cover a range of other topics including:
Students on this module will form an academically informed, independent and critical knowledge of the Persian Gulf and the relations that states within the region have with ‘the West’.
This challenging course investigates gender inequalities within society through a focus on historical and contemporary debates in feminist theory and activism. The course has an `intersectional` focus that means we will consider gender inequalities as bound up with other forms of discrimination and marginalisation, particularly racial and ethnic inequalities, disability and social class.
The first term will challenge you to think about `what feminism means today` through a consideration of key aspects of feminist thought and activism from the late 1960s onwards. We will consider the continued relevance of the idea of ‘The Personal is Political’ and ‘consciousness raising’. We will overview feminist approaches to social research and explore feminist interventions in practices of gender inequality, for example inequalities in paid and unpaid work, childcare and women’s health. You will complete an intergenerational interview research project on ‘women, work and social change’ through which you will analyse and present your findings in a group presentation and reflect upon your experience of the research process.
During the second term we will take the feminist manifesto as a central document which expresses lived experiences of gender inequalities and collective desire for social change. Through some practices of inequalities, such as art, beauty contests, capitalism and patriarchy we will explore the contemporary resonance of ideas such as black feminisms, art activism, the occupy movement and backlash.
By the end of the course you will be familiar with some of the key debates within feminism today and be able to make connections between feminist theory and forms of feminist practice. The course engages you in lively debate, original research and feminist activism through analysis of varied media including academic texts, advertising, art, film, news media and social media.
This module comprises a 10,000 word dissertation that students complete in their final year. It offers students the opportunity to undertake an independent piece of research (under supervision) and to apply their general understanding of the research process to real world examples that will inform their choice of dissertation topic.
Students will plan, present and design a dissertation proposal in tutorial groups, with a detailed, step-by-step web-based guide available for extra support. They will develop an idea for a research project, work out what is possible, which methods to use, and begin to plan it. They will then communicate their dissertation proposal to other students and then write it up in a way that clearly states their research topic, aims and methods, and where it situates within wider sociological debates. Students will carry out data collection and analysis, and write it up as a dissertation. They will meet regularly with their supervisors to discuss their progress.
Globalization remains a buzzword in academic and policy discourses. It is often related to the acceleration of global communication as well as internationalization of the economic, political and social processes. This module addresses some of these changes especially those related to trade, production and investment in the international political economy. There are many approaches in understanding these changes, this module introduces students to both liberal and critical ones (e.g., neo-Gramscianism). Drawing from their insights, it investigates and analyzes the roles of state and non-state actors (e.g., transnational corporations and NGOs) in rebuilding the governance of global production and finance. Finally, it examines the rise of transnational justice movements in offering alternatives to globalization and its uneven development, before and after the financial crisis of 2007.
The aim of this module is to introduce students to the inner dynamics of political Islam and the attendant challenges that comes with it, particularly in contemporary international society.
The module will cover the working of Islam in the governing process; its position in contemporary international order; practical contemporary topics such as governance, violence, terrorism and such; and will deliver an understanding of key concepts and intellectual debates.
The module is designed as much for students with little or no background in Islamic Politics, as it is for students who already have some grounding. It is built around an examination of the principal debates, features, and manifestations of Islamic politics in the twentieth and twenty first centuries.
Economic inequalities have widened in advanced capitalist countries and yet many people are reluctant to acknowledge the existence of class. This module analyses how inequalities of class and status are generated, how they relate to other kinds of inequality, and how they are experienced. It explores how the mechanisms of capitalist economic organisation interact with other sources of inequality, not only producing an unequal distribution of resources and opportunities but affecting the way in which people value themselves and others.
Linking social structure to personal experience, the module will apply social theory, particularly that of Pierre Bourdieu, to the interpretation of everyday life, and to what people think about class.
The module will examine the cultural and political relationships and intersections between media, religion and politics in national and global contexts. Both old and new media will be considered, and consideration will be given to the transformative potential of the latter for participation and activism in religion and politics. The research methods used for analysing media content and discourse will be introduced and applied.
Topics may include:
Belonging to a nation is widely seen to be as natural as belonging to a family or a home. This module will explore how such assumptions about national belonging come about by introducing students to a range of theoretical approaches and debates.
Students will explore how notions belonging are socially constructed, how the nation is defined, who belongs and who doesn’t. The module addresses these notions by examining what everyday practices, discourses and representations reveal about the ways people think about, and inhabit, the nation. The module also pays particular attention to nation formation in relation to debates about multiculturalism, diversity and migration and asks: What are the impacts of migration and multiculturalism on definitions of the nation? How is multiculturalism defined and perceived?
Although focus will be on the example of Britain, issues raised will apply to many countries of the contemporary world.
This skills-based, CV-enhancing module enables Politics/IR students to develop skills and knowledge that are highly valued in a range of professions, including, but not limited to, those associated with teaching and the public and charity sectors. The core activities, which all take place on campus, are grounded in, and contribute to, the Politics/IR Outreach and Widening Participation programme which engages with A Level pupils in Sixth Forms (see wp.lancs.ac.uk/politics-outreach). Using communication, analytical, mentoring, feedback and writing skills, students will:
1) Work with Careers staff to identify and articulate the transferrable skills and knowledge acquired during the course of undergraduate studies and to communicate those skills to potential employers.
2) Work with successful PPR alumni in positions in Politics, the Civil Service, the Media and NGOs on practical scenarios/case studies which require the application of skills acquired in the sessions in order to identify and enhance capabilities of importance to potential employers in CVs and personal statements.
3) (Assessment 1) Develop a four minute individual presentation filmed in the LUTV studios explaining Politics in lay terms to Sixth Form pupils. This will take place in week 5 and constitute 20% of the overall mark. Selected presentations will, with student consent, appear in Outreach, Widening Participation and Recruitment materials and can be cited by students in CVs.
4) (Assessment 2) Participate in a mentoring programme with Sixth Form pupils from Widening Participation backgrounds completing Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs) in a local school. Students will receive mentoring training from Lancaster University’s UK Student Recruitment and Outreach (UKSRO) service, work one-on-one with pupils in two mentoring sessions and then produce one 1,000 word feedback report to be submitted in week 8, constituting 40% of the overall mark, on outline plans for their respective pupil’s project.
5) (Assessment 3) Develop a 2,500 word coursework role play/simulation outline to be submitted in week 10, constituting 40% of the overall mark. Role plays are practical means of students adopting and pursuing in an educational setting the roles, characteristics, motivations, aims and objectives of actors in political conflicts or processes. The role play outlines are intended for use by Sixth Form students as part of the Politics/IR outreach programme. Selected students will have their outlines added to an online bank of role play outlines for use by schools and will be offered the opportunity to run their role play in schools, interest from schools and logistical considerations permitting.
This module will introduce students to a series of understandings of culture. Culture is first outlined with regard to its shape, scope and purpose, before being examined in relation to debates regarding homogeneity, change and conflict. This problematizes popular understandings of culture as fixed and unchanging, enabling students to grapple with two contrasting accounts of the source of conflict: Samuel Huntington’s The Clash between Civilizations and Dieter Senghaas’ The Clash within Civilizations.
The module then examines normative approaches to culture, beginning with the debate between relativism and universalism, which leads into an approach – value pluralism – which appears, at first sight, to offer a middle ground between the positions. This involves introducing and examining the validity of a range of conceptions of wellbeing. The module then examines toleration and recognition as approaches to diversity, comparing and contrasting them and identifying internal contradictions through engagement with real world cases. The political implications of the module are then consolidated and drawn out in full.
What makes the world dangerous? Is global politics the extension of war by other means? Do security policies inscribe peace with the logic of war? How has the RMA, and the digital and molecular revolutions changed the ways in which we think about security and war? In what ways have these revolutions made the world more rather than less dangerous? What happens to security and war when these take the life of the human species rather than sovereign territoriality as their referent object? How and why does securing life pose a wholly different security problem from that of securing states? Why does securing life appear to increase rather than decrease global danger? In the process of exploring these and related questions this course will introduce students to the ways in which biopolitical dismodules of security and war differ from geostrategic dismodules of security and war. The world is said to be dangerous in many changing and conflicting ways. Dismodules of security and war teach us what to fear and prioritise danger differently. They challenge how we think. Part One introduces students to ways of thinking about the problematisation of security and war, including new approaches to understanding power. Part Two applies these new perspectives to interrogate changes in the practices of security and war; especially those introduced by the informationalisation of weapons and the weaponisation of information.
This module is designed to allow students to gain experience of educational environments, to develop transferable skills, and to reflect on the role and communication of their own discipline. The module is organised and delivered collaboratively between Lancaster University Students’ Union LUSU Involve, the school/college where the placement is based, and the department.
The module will give students experience of classroom observation and experience, teacher assistance, as well as teaching small groups (under supervision). In particular, the module will not only give students the opportunity to observe and experience teaching and learners for themselves, it will also require them to reflect on how their own subject area (Religion, Politics and International Relations, or Philosophy) is experienced by learners, delivered in other parts of the educational sector, and applied in a classroom setting. Students will also be asked to reflect on how teaching and learning at this earlier level combines with what is taught and promoted at the level of Higher education (as experienced in the University).
This module is taught intensively at our partner institution in Bangalore, India for four weeks during August. The programme includes daily lectures, seminars, excursions, and cultural activities.
On their return to Lancaster, students will write a supervised dissertation on an aspect of contemporary Indian life. Topics covered could include Bhakti traditions in India, the philosophy and spirituality of Yoga, Vedanta today, Islam in India, the Sikh way of life, Buddhism in India, the inculturation process in Christianity, inter-religious dialogue and pluralism in India today, the role of women in Indian religious traditions and religious festivals in India, debates about secularism and religion in the political sphere.
The module is also open to Politics and Philosophy students, who can write about political or philosophical issues in contemporary India.
Students will study the thought of two seminal thinkers in political theory. This module provides an opportunity to explore texts slowly, methodically and in depth, allowing students to link that thought to wider literature that has developed as a response to the thinkers' ideas, and see how those ideas link-up into a wider systematic and philosophic whole.
Topics include among many others:
This module focuses on key contexts and developments in the inter-relationship between religion and politics across the world.
The major themes will be:
The aim of this module is to develop the skills and virtues of a final-year undergraduate level philosopher and scholar of philosophy, by guided practice in close reading and reasoned discussion of selected works in contemporary moral philosophy. No attempt at broad survey will be made. The module will instead be run as a reading group on a small number of high-quality texts. Seminars will consist of moderated discussion of reading introduced by the tutor or by a student presentation. Assessment will be by 5,000 word essay on a topic chosen by the individual student and developed in consultation with the tutor.
‘Moral philosophy’ will be understood fairly broadly, as including metaethics, the philosophies of action, selfhood, and agency, and the more normative and/or theoretical parts of political philosophy. Possible topics, works, debates, and/or figures in contemporary moral philosophy include: wellbeing; value and valuing; personhood/selfhood; practical reason; moral psychology; metaethics; freedom and responsibility; utilitarianism and its critics; virtue ethics and its critics; deontology and its critics; the work of major recent and contemporary figures in moral philosophy, for example Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Railton, Christine Korsgaard, Philippa Foot, Allan Gibbard, Charles Taylor, Simon Blackburn, Peter Singer, or Derek Parfit.
This module considers ‘what a drug is’, alongside how and why we take drugs, by exploring the relationship between society, culture and intoxication. Together we will examine classic and contemporary literature on 'drugs' and the 'drug experience', including drug ethnographies, critical drug studies, and narcocultural studies (eg. literary works and media on drugs). We will also analyse how certain forms of drug use are produced as ‘social problems’ to develop a critical understanding of the aims, efficacies and inadequacies of societal responses to drug use, including drug education programmes, public health policies, treatment regimes, recovery work, and criminal sanctions. Other topics covered include club drugs in post-rave dance cultures; continuity and change in drug markets/distribution systems; drug prohibition, its consequences, and its alternatives; illicit drugs, globalisation and securitisation; gender, sexuality and drugs; researching drugs/drug use (theoretical concepts, research methods and ethics); risks, harms and pleasure; and mapping drug futures in the digital age.
This module addresses contemporary debates in sociology and cinema together by focusing on a single film each week. Its overall aim is to employ cinema for the purpose of social diagnosis.
The module engages with cinema as a social fact, before linking together cinema (producing images of the social) and sociality (socialisation of the image) for analysis. Against this background, the module seeks to broaden the range of topics for study within Sociology.
We live in societies in which forecasting and planning for the future is an important activity for governments, institutions, businesses and individuals. We live in societies in which imaginings of the future as a better time or as a more fearful one circulate in the here and now, calling us into action or invoking threats or desires. This module considers how we should understand the future from sociological and cultural perspectives. The module will address both how we can look into the future through various techniques in order to gain a foresight into what might happen, and we will look at the future – how images of the future circulate in the present through the work of scientists, artists, filmmakers, writers, academics, politicians and others.
This module will examine the politics of external intervention in violent political conflicts and the attempts made to manage, prevent and transform these wars into more peaceful situations.
The module aims to develop student understanding of how international organisations have attempted to intervene within conflict zones to prevent an escalation in conflict, to enforce UN resolutions or to assist externally mediated peace 'settlements'.
The module also aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of how violent conflict has changed since the end of the Cold War and how transnational organisations such as the EU, UN and NATO have attempted to deal with the new challenges and opportunities presented since the beginning of the 1990s until the present day.
Conceptually, the course will examine the principles of the liberal peace; state failure; international conflict prevention; peace keeping; and global governance. Empirically, the course will focus on post-Cold War conflicts such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China.
This module examines theories of US foreign policy, the structure of the policy making process in the US, and the major themes in the development of American foreign policy since 1945.
The module starts with an overview of the main competing theoretical conceptions of US foreign policy, and an exploration of the foreign policy making process, looking in particular at the Presidency and Congress, and the way in which relationships between these two bodies have developed over the past fifty years. It then goes on to look at the conduct of foreign policy since 1945, focusing on: the origins and early development of the Cold War; US engagement in the Vietnam war; détente and the eventual ending of the Cold War; the first Gulf war and 'the new world order'; 9/11 and the war on terror; and, finally, new directions in US foreign policy being pursued by the current administration.
The module explores varying sociological approaches to the analysis of violence and society. It covers key concepts, theories and empirical material before encouraging students to evaluate and contrast the varying perspectives on the issue.
Topics will include: violence and social change; violence from below and from above; violent crime and socio-economic inequality; gender-based violence against women; hate crime and genocide; criminal justice system; war, democracy and power; old and new wars; militarism and gender; peace processes; terrorism; securitisation; increases and decreases in violence over time.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
A Politics and Sociology degree at Lancaster will help you develop valuable skills in research, analysis and communication, as well as a range of written, team working and time management skills that are increasingly sought after by graduate employers.
Your degree focuses on understanding social and civic processes, so it is particularly suitable for careers in the Civil Service, local government, public affairs, charities and social welfare organisations.
Former graduates now use their skills in commerce, industry, accountancy, law, teaching, academic work, journalism and the armed forces.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2019/20 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2018 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
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Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework