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State, Economy & Society - POL00006I

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Werner Bonefeld
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21 to Summer Term 2020-21

Module aims

The module examines the core subject for the study of Politics: the state. It has four main objectives: (i) to explore distinct approaches to political economy; (ii) to develop an appreciation of the key issues in modern state theory; (iii) to examine competing approaches to political economy and theories of the state; and (iv) to develop analytical skills drawn from different disciplines including politics, economics, sociology, and law.

Market-liberals want the state to be both minimal and strong, while others see the state as a condition of economic wealth and/or as a means for a just and fair society. What is to be understood by the state? Where does the state end and society begin? What is the connection between the economy and the state? Can a market economy work without the state? And who is the master of the law? In the Autumn term the module investigates the conception of economic wealth, its dynamic and crisis-ridden development, and enquires about the social purpose of profit, trade and economy. In this term we will typically be studying the contributions of Adam Smith, Friedrich List, Karl Marx, Karl Polanyi, Joseph Schumpeter, and John Maynard Keynes. The Spring term investigates the relationship between the state and globalisation, the rule of law, society, economy, class, democracy and revolution, through the work of modern theorists, including Hayek, Lenin, Weber, and Schmitt, amongst others.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module a student should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate different theories of the state in relation to the empirical material covered on the module.
  • Show an ability to synthesize insights from different disciplines - politics, economics, sociology, and law.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 2000 words
N/A 40
Online Exam
State, Economy & Society
N/A 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 2000 words
N/A 40
Online Exam
State, Economy & Society
N/A 60

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 20 working days after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Bonefeld, W. (2017) The Free Economy and the Strong State. Rowman and Littlejohn, London.

Cristi, R., Carl Schmitt and Authoritarian Liberalism, University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1998.

Hayek, F. The Road to Serfdom, various editions.

Heilbronner, R (2000). The Worldly Philosophers, Penguin, London.

Lenin, V., (various) State and Revolution, various editions.

Marx, K. and Engels, F., The communist Manifesto, various editions.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students