Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POLM651: State and Society in the Middle East

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.

Module Aims

This module explores concepts, themes and cases which are crucial to an understanding of modern Middle Eastern politics. While political science often conceptualize politics as synonymous with presidents, parties and parliaments, this module studies political power in its broader social setting. By adopting a critical, sociological approach to forces such as ethnicity, religion and nationalism, it seeks to explain Middle East politics with reference to its underlying social dynamics. The module thus examines the interaction between the institutions and ideas of the state, and the social context in which that state is rooted.

Each seminar takes one or two case studies as a means to examine key concepts and theories in political sociology. This allows students to expand their empirical knowledge of the Middle East, as well as their knowledge of debates in the field. Furthermore, students may choose which countries to focus on in their assessed work, so have the option of developing special expertise in particular areas of interest.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here - you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate familiarity with concepts and analytical tools applied to study domestic politics in the Middle East.
2. Show understanding of the patterns of state-society interaction in the region. Show understanding of the processes of state formation and of the constitution of social and political forces.
3. Show familiarity with sources of data on these issues and countries of the region.
4. Demonstrate awareness of the different perspectives and debates within the field of Middle East politics.
Discipline-Specific Skills5. Critically analyse primary and secondary source material.
6. Understand and use social theory.
7. Assess the merits of different conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches
8. Construct coherent yet concise arguments in both written and verbal formats.
Personal and Key Skills9. Work effectively in a group and independently
10. Communicate effectively orally and in writing
11. Digest, select and organise material. Manage time and meet deadlines
12. Articulate and defend positions on the seminar topics
13. Comment critically but constructively on the arguments of others.