Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2124: The Politics of the Body

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.

Module Aims

The main aim is to challenge students to think critically about practices and norms affecting bodies within multicultural societies and to examine policy and attitudes towards practices conducted by diverse groups. Students are encouraged to evaluate their own assumptions about group practices and norms that affect bodies and to consider whether their assumptions and reactions to practices that are materially similar are different depending on the cultural character of the practising group.

The right to bodily integrity, and the distinction between bodily integrity and bodily autonomy, are central concepts and concerns running throughout the module, and an idea that we will apply to each of the practices examined.

We will consider the nature of sociocultural norms and values that influence decision-makers’ actions concerning bodily practices – both those affecting their own bodies, and those affecting other people’s bodies.

Students will produce two main pieces of writing that will center on one or two practices: 1. a case study of a practice which will require students to conduct research into the laws and policies about (eg.) FGC, and 2. an essay defending an argument about the practice they researched in the case study. 

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 evaluate practices and norms affecting the body
2. Analyse and apply concepts of bodily autonomy and integrity
Discipline-Specific Skills3. Evaluate normative political arguments
4. Apply political and legal thought to contemporary practices
Personal and Key Skills5. Research into the laws and policies concerning a contemporary bodily practice
6. Write a well-organised and well-researched essay defending a single argument