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IR3056   Political Leadership: Theories and History

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 1

Planned timetable: 1.00 pm Thurs

This module investigates the meaning, role, significance, value or ethics of political leadership in the western tradition. Its overall objective is to enable students to analyse and evaluate descriptive, historical, and normative arguments on the significance and function of political leaders in contemporary politics. The module examines competing theories of leadership in their historical and intellectual contexts; it analyses' leadership' in relation to other political concepts such as sovereignty, democracy, rule of law, and patriarchy. The approach is theoretical and philosophical; examples of historical leaders (e.g. Mandela, Thatcher) will be used to highlight strengths and weaknesses of competing theories of leadership, and to emphasise their ideological assumptions and implications.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass IR2006

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 x 1-hour lecture (x 10 weeks), 1 x 1-hour tutorial (x 10 weeks), 2 consultation hours with Coordinator (x 12 weeks). 2 hours examination feedback in week 1 of following semester.

Scheduled learning hours: 46

Guided independent study hours: 254

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 3-hour Written Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 50%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 50%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%


Module coordinator: Professor G Slomp
Module teaching staff: Dr G Slomp

Intended learning outcomes

  • acquire familiarity with classical texts on leadership
  • develop sensitivity to intellectual and historical contexts within which theories of leadership are developed
  • understand the meaning of leadership in relation to political concepts such as sovereignty, prerogative, patriarchy, and democracy
  • identify the role and significance of leaders in the contemporary world vis-Ó-vis earlier times
  • develop an ability to formulate, present, defend and critique notions of leadership in a cogent manner.
  • develop an ability to identify, retrieve and utilise relevant electronic resources on a given topic.