Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC2120: Power and Democracy

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.

Module Aims

This module aims to encourage you to reflect on contemporary debates about democratic politics in light of two broad traditions of political thought: liberal and radical democracy. On the one hand, liberal democrats tend to view democracy simply as decision-making procedure: they want to limit democratic politics to appropriate political arenas and to direct it through appropriate channels. On the other hand, radical democrats tend to view democracy as a way of life: they want to expand democratic politics throughout social life and enhance the meaningfulness of participation available to citizens. You will reflect on how these traditions of democratic thought inform and influence how we think about a range of contested practices of political life today, such as: Should citizens should have to pass a competence test in order to vote? Are populists the ‘true’ democrats? Can the use of coercive tactics by political demonstrators be democratic? When might unelected and self-appointed representatives be more representative than elected politicians?

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. distinguish between liberal and radical theories of democracy;
2. evaluate political phenomena in terms of normative criteria of democratic theory.
Discipline-Specific Skills3. assess the insightfulness of different interpretations of political texts and phenomena;
4. assimilate and analyse a range of sources in contemporary political theory.
Personal and Key Skills5. refine normative and conceptual arguments;
6. reflect on your own social position and political agency.