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PPR.344: Politics of Cultural Diversity


Department: Politics, Philosophy and Religion NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF6//RQF6
Study Level: Part II (yr 3) Credit Points: 15
Start Date: 06-10-2014 End Date: 01-05-2015
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Dr MT Johnson

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

  • This course will introduce students to a series of understandings of culture – a concept which is often deployed without clear meaning or scope. Culture is first outlined with regard to its shape, scope and purpose, before being examined in relation to debates regarding homogeneity, change and conflict. This problematizes popular understandings of culture as fixed and unchanging, enabling students to grapple with two contrasting accounts of the source of conflict: Samuel Huntington’s The Clash between Civilizations and Dieter Senghaas’ The Clash within Civilizations. Having conceptualized culture and analyzed potential explanations for conflict, the module then examines normative approaches to culture, beginning with the debate between relativism and universalism, which leads into an approach – value pluralism – which appears, at first sight, to offer a middle ground between the positions. This involves introducing and examining the validity of a range of conceptions of wellbeing. The module then moves to examine two lauded approaches to diversity – toleration and recognition –, comparing and contrasting their substantive claims and identifying a series of internal contradictions through engagement with real world cases. This leads into a summarizing session in which the political implications of the module are consolidated and drawn out in full. 

    Topics studied will typically include:

    • What is culture? What does it do? What should it do?
    • Homogeneity
    • Change
    • Conflict
    • Making judgments: relativism
    • Making judgments: universalism
    • Making judgments: value pluralism
    • Toleration
    • Recognition
    • How should we deal with diversity?

     

Curriculum Design: Single, Combined or Consortial Schemes to which the Module Contributes

  • All PPR schemes, as well as schemes in Sociology and History

     

  • 60% Exam
  • 40% Essay(s)

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • This course is assessed by a combination of a 2,500 word coursework essay and a two hour exam in which students will write one essay from a choice of questions in response to stimulus material provided at the beginning of the exam. Both forms of assessment will evaluate the ability of students to apply conceptual and analytical tools to real world issues. The final mark for the course will be on the basis of 40% coursework and 60% examination. The essays will enable provision of feedback to students prior to the exam. Feedback will be provided within 4 weeks of the submission date (excluding closure days). The essay will be submitted at the end of the term in which the module is taught, while the exam will be in the Main Summer exam period.

     

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • This module seeks to examine several questions of significance to contemporary politics: What is culture? Is there a ‘Clash of Civilisations’? Can we evaluate cultural practices or say that a culture is harmful or wrong? How should we deal with practices such as genital cutting and should we mourn the ‘loss’ of cultures? Upon completion of the course, students should be able to (a) conceptualise culture and cultural processes of concern to politics, (b) understand and examine cultural change and conflict, (c) comprehend and employ normative approaches to the study of culture, (d) evaluate policy responses to cultural diversity, (e) articulate significant knowledge on a selected topic related to the course material.

Educational Aims: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Students will develop: the capacity to argue effectively; communication skills through seminar discussions; written skills by completing the coursework assessments; the ability to work interdisciplinarily by applying insights from a range of fields to issues of core political importance. 

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

    (a) conceptualise culture and cultural processes of concern to politics,

    (b) understand and examine cultural change and conflict,

    (c) comprehend and employ normative approaches to the study of culture,

    (d) evaluate policy responses to cultural diversity, (e) articulate significant knowledge on a selected topic related to the course material.

Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

    (a) evaluate the key features of an argument, be confident to express their own views, and evaluate the responses of others

    (b) sustain an argument over the course of an essay

    (c) write coherently

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