Politics is the study of the mostly peaceful methods by which struggles over the finite resources within a society can be allocated or used. The first year of the subject examines both contemporary political issues and the structures that hold our political system together. We conclude with a study of four ideologies – Liberalism, Anarchism, Conservatism and Socialism. Students are not expected to have any prior knowledge of any of these topics but are expected to take an active interest – if not participation – in politics.
Politics is for those who are interested in power and how it has an impact on our daily lives.
In the second year of the course, students examine global issues in contemporary politics. What dictates how states interact? How do individual states respond to global challenges such as terrorism or climate change? What rules, if any, govern the international arenas in which states debate? To what extent do organisations such as the UN and the EU have any impact on their members? Again, whilst students are not required to have any previous knowledge in this area, it is crucial that they develop an engagement with the subject.
Politics beyond the classroom
The department teaches its subjects beyond the classroom as much as possible. Every year students visit Westminster to understand the role of the Houses of Parliament in the political system and society. In recent years students have attended a number of speaker events and discussions, and every student has the option of participating in a trip to America, which includes a visit to the United Nations Headquarters in New York and helps place the abstract issues discussed into a tangible context. The department also aims to encourage understanding of political issues throughout the School and staff lead assemblies, Question Times and organise mock-elections whenever possible.