Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3199: Images of Democracy

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 30 ECTS Value 15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks) and term 2 (10 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Andrew Schaap (Lecturer)





Available via distance learning


Democracy is often viewed narrowly as an institutional arrangement through which political elites compete for the vote of the people. As such ‘the people’ are understood precisely as those who do not participate in politics, except as spectators. Yet the image of democracy as a way of life in which ordinary people act together maintains a grip on our political imagination. This module will invite you to consider a range of contemporary political issues in terms of two images of radical democracy presented by Hannah Arendt and Jacques Rancière. Both thinkers invite us to view democratic politics as a struggle for appearance, through which political subjects make themselves seen and heard. From this perspective, we will consider issues such as truth and opinion, race politics, riots, migration, council democracy, civil disobedience, feminism, political violence, activism and populism. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to explore and develop your own research interests in light of the images of democracy offered by each thinker.

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