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IR4504   The Language of Politics

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 1

Planned timetable: 1pm Tues

This module examines key words we encounter in the language of politics; it pays special attention to terms such as 'power', 'sovereignty', 'rights', 'liberty', 'equality', 'obligation', 'justice'. It compares and contrasts different definitions of these terms in the historical and ideological contexts from which they emerged. The module also introduces students to the study of uses and abuses of language for political purposes, ranging from the sophists' art of rhetoric and oratory to contemporary techniques of persuasion and manipulation.

Relationship to other modules

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

Assessment pattern

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

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator: Professor G Slomp
Module teaching staff: Prof Gabriella Slomp

Intended learning outcomes

  • Acquire a detailed understanding of the historical and ideological presuppositions of conflicting definitions of political concepts such as rights, liberty, equality, enmity, and justice
  • Become aware of the practical implications of different theoretical standpoints
  • Understand past and contemporary debates on human rights
  • Develop their own thought on issues of justice, rights and enmity
  • Develop a critical mind towards the language of politics