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Modern political ideas HI3015-05

Provides an outline of the leading trends in modern political thought from 1750 to the present, including an overview of the emergence and development of the leading political ideologies, liberalism and socialism.


30 Credits

Topics covered

A survey of the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, G.W.F. Hegel, the early socialists, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Michael Bakunin, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Orwell, Mohandas Gandhi, Franz Fanon, and environmentalism since the 1970s.

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Grasp of the outlines of the subject and its leading themes
  • Prepare essays in good and analytically clear English
  • Present in public.


  • Exam (80%)
  • Essay (10%)
  • Reflective journal and forum posts (10%)

Essential reading

  • Aron, Raymond (1965)
  • Main Currents of Sociological Thought, Vol. 1; Ball, Terence, Farr, James & Hanson, Russell (eds) (1989)     
  • Political Innovation and Conceptual Change; Barker, Rodney (1978)
  • Political Ideas in Modern Britain; Barry, Norman (1981)
  • An Introduction to Modern Political Theory; Berki, R.N. (1977)
  • The History of Political Thought; Connolly, William (1988)
  • Political Theory and Modernity; Dunn, John (1979)
  • Western Political Theory in the Face of the Future; Gamble, Andrew (1981)
  • An Introduction to Modern Social and Political Thought; Hampsher-Monk, Iain (1992)
  • A History of Modern Political Thought; Lively, Jack & Andrew Reeve (eds) (1989)
  • Modern Political Theory from Hobbes to Marx: Key Debates; Miller, David et al. (eds) (1987)
  • The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought; Plamenatz, John (1963)
  • Man and Society: Political and Social Theory (2 vols); Plant, Raymond (1991)
  • Modern Political Thought; Sabine, George (1948)
  • A History of Political Theory; Vincent, Andrew (1992)
  • Modern Political Ideologies; Wolin, S. (1960) Politics and Vision. Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought.