Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2112: Politics and Its Discontents

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.

Module Aims

This module will introduce students to the key theoretical positions of Nietzsche and Freud, and explore how their contributions to political theory grow out of these theoretical positions: Nietzsche’s pronouncement of the death of god; the aim of a transvaluation of all values (and how this can be read as a critique of Kant); perspectivism and genealogy (and how this can be read as a critique of Hegel); and the genealogy of morality as a dynamic struggle between active and reactive forces (informing the subsequent notion of will to power). Freud’s theory of the unconscious, revealed by dreams and parapraxes; repression, and the dynamic struggle between the pleasure principle of the unconscious and the reality principle of the conscious; the translation of this psychology of individuals into the psychology of groups, and in particular, political psychology, the mass psychology of fascism.

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. Critically assess the basic theories of Nietzsche and Freud
2. Understand how their respective political theories emerge from their basic theories
3. Compare the similarities between the theories of both thinkers, and contrast their differences
Discipline-Specific Skills4. Critically reflect on how these theories relate to, and go beyond, the set of shared principles that inform the history of political thought that precedes them
5. Explain how the theories of Nietzsche and Freud challenge many of the assumptions of contemporary political science
6. Demonstrate an understanding of how the theories of Nietzsche and Freud inform some of the most significant critical discourses of contemporary political theory.
Personal and Key Skills7. Critically analyse primary discoursive source material, based on the two textual analysis assignments
8. Study independently and manage time and assessment deadlines effectively
9. Communicate effectively in speech and writing
10. Demonstrate critical and analytical skills through tutorial discussions and module assessments
11. Demonstrate proficiency in the use of the internet, online journal databases and other IT resources for the purposes of tutorial and assessment preparation