Late modernity has signaled a series of transformations in social and political life, which could not have escaped the attention of political science. During the same period, political theory has introduced new tools of analysis in order to make sense of these transformations. The aim of this course is to familiarize students with contemporary approaches developed in the last two to three decades that illuminate in a distinct way central aspects of political life in late modern societies. These aspects include:
1. Power and the political. Special emphasis will be given to the influence of Michel Foucault’s work in conceptualizing power and to the analysis of ‘biopolitics’ by theorists such as Giorgio Agamben and others.
2. The subject and ideology. In this part of the course we will study the relevance of psychoanalytic approaches, especially of the Freudian and Lacanian traditions as applied in political theory by Slavoj Zizek and others.
3. The nature of democracy. The stress here will be in discussing the crisis of the liberal democratic model and its ‘post-democratic’ mutations, as well as in evaluating the different re-orientations of democracy proposed in contemporary political theory (from deliberative to radical democratic models).
- Acquisition of knowledge on contemporary political theory (theoretical traditions, conceptual toolkit).
- Familiarity with methods of qualitative research in political science and philosophy.
- Collection and evaluation of evidence and research resources aiming at the interdisciplinary questioning of political phenomena and the development of theoretical generalizations.
- Processing and synthesis of information from a variety of sources (conventional and electronic) in order to develop organised and persuasive oral and written theoretical arguments.
- Development of a critical democratic ethos.