Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module HPS-1002:
Power, Freedom & the State

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Marc Collinson

Overall aims and purpose

The module aims to introduce the student to the field of political sciences. The module draws on the set of philosophical and social theories to engage with the questions, such as what is politics, what are political systems and how they have come to be as well as broader political questions on the role of the state and sovereignty, authority and civil society. The module aims are: to examine the classic theories of power, state and authority as well as the modern political concepts, such as nationalism, globalisation, civil society and populism; to demonstrate the link between the current political issues and their broader national and global context; to familiarise students with the terminology and data evidence used in the academic discussion of political and social sciences.

Course content

The topics for the Principles of Politics:

  • The nature of Politics and Political Analysis
  • Politics and the State
  • Political Power, Authority and the State
  • Democracy and Political Obligation
  • Freedom and justice
  • Nations and Nationalism
  • Traditional Ideologies
  • Political Parties
  • Civil Society, Interest Groups and Populism

Assessment Criteria


Student’s work will display the critical thinking and ability to make an academic argument with the use of relevant political theories and use of the empirical evidence. It will show the sophisticated competence in knowledge, writing and referencing.


Student’s work will display a good understanding of major political theories and concepts and their application to the contemporary political discourse. It will show reflexive competence in the discussion and analysis of the contemporary political issues.


Student's work will display an adequate understanding of the political theories and contacts, use simple comparisons to help explain the contemporary political questions and show basic competence in writing, referencing and discussing on the political issues.

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand key concepts of political sciences, such as state, power, authority, nation and ideology.

  2. Show initiative and independence in researching sources of information relating to the chosen topic.

  3. Apply the concepts and theories into the discussion of contemporary social and political problems in the academic debate.

  4. Understand the nature of the empirical evidence in the academic political debate.

  5. Be familiar with classical and modern theories of political sciences

  6. Understand the origins and development of political institutions in contemporary society

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
HPS-1002 Essay 40
HPS-1002 Test 1 20
HPS-1002 Test 2 20
HPS-1002 Test 3 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Workshops – 2 hours a week


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • how to make ethically sound judgements in relation to research carried out by others or oneself
  • relationships between these and social divisions and social change.
  • the ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions
  • awareness of how political and cultural values - including the student's own - have an impact on responses to and rival interpretations of safety and security, crime
  • the ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions
  • competence in using major theoretical perspectives and concepts in sociology, and their application to social life
  • the capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical sociological information
  • the ability to conduct sociological research
  • Appreciate the value of and apply theoretical and methodological rigour to analyses of welfare issues;
  • the ability to understand the ethical implications of sociological enquiry
  • Become cognizant with key conceptual debates within the field of contemporary social policy


Reading list

Key texts:

Garner R., Ferdinand P., Lawson S. (2016) Introduction to Politics 3rd Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Ferdinand P., Garner R., Lawson S. (2018) Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: