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The University of Southampton

PAIR1004 Political Ideas

Module Overview

Students should gain a knowledge of how these concepts have been understood in different and incompatible ways, and how those different understandings have been the occasion for ideological or normative debates. Through an analysis of those concepts and the ways in which they are deployed, students will gain an insight into the nature of some of the most important contemporary controversies within political theory.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To study some of the most important concepts within contemporary political theory.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • State clearly the core meaning of a variety of political concepts discussed on the course
  • Summarise and explain the political significance of those concepts
  • Show the strengths and weaknesses of the particular conceptions defended by individual theorists


Political concepts such as liberty, equality, obligation, toleration, justice and so on.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and seminars

Independent Study123
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

David Miller. Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction. 

Catriona McKinnon (ed). Issues in Political Theory. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 60%
Essay  (1500 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 60%
Essay  (1500 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 40%
Essay  (1500 words) 60%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Purchasing a textbook is helpful but not required. You may also wish to print some reading materials but, again, this is not required

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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