ENP-35306 Political Theory


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. JPM van Tatenhove
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. JPM van Tatenhove
prof. dr. BJM Arts
prof. dr. ir. CJAM Termeer
dr. ir. MCM Nuijten
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. JPM van Tatenhove

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Social science bachelor


This is an advanced course which is part of the Research Master Variant in the MSc programmes MID (Specializations A and C) and MME (Specialization B). This advanced course offers students in-depth knowledge on theories in political science, such as institutional approaches, group and network approaches, interpretative theory, discursive approaches and political anthropology . The main goal of the course is to provide students with the knowledge of important theories and themes to understand politics, to have the ability to formulate research questions from these theories and to understand and analyse contemporary themes in political science and policy analysis from different theoretical perspectives and theories.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to:
- have a thorough understanding of current influential theories and themes within contemporary political sciences;
- be able to position these theories against one another;
- understand that research themes can be studied from different theoretical angles;
- evaluate their opportunities and limitations in terms of application;
- formulate research questions from these different theories;
- evaluate these theories, so that students' research becomes (much more) theory-guided.


In the first part of the course 4 approaches will be discussed which deal in different ways with politics and the political. The second part of the course consists of 4 half day seminars dealing with an important topic from political science and/or policy analysis. These topics are: State (strong and weak), and non-state actors; Power and hegemony; Democracy and participation (inclusion and exclusion in western and non-western countries; traditional and democratic leadership); Political identity, culture and trust.
The design of these seminars is as follows. After a short introduction one of the lectures presents a state of the art about the theme. The students comment on this presentation from different theoretical perspectives. The preparation of the students consists of reading key articles of the different theoretical perspectives within this theme. After the comments there will be a plenary discussion.


- individual paper (50%);
- written exam with open questions (50%).
To pass both components need at least a 5.50.


See course guide.

Restricted Optional for: MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScA: Management Studies2MO
MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScB: Consumer Studies2MO
MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScC: Economics, Environment and Governance2MO
MIDInternational Development StudiesMScC: Communication, Technology and Policy2MO
MIDInternational Development StudiesMScA: Sociology of Development2MO