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Political Economy and the Liberal-Democratic State (PO242)

Liberal-democracy is often seen as an ideal institutional form of government. This module scrutinises the ideal by considering the relationship between liberalism and democracy as it has been understood by various theorists. Are liberalism and democracy perfectly compatible? Are there occasions on which it is necessary to suspend democracy in order to defend liberty? If there are, under what circumstances? We will consider the implications that the relationship between liberalism and democracy has for social and political life, in particular in relation to management of the economy. In order to achieve this, we will read a variety of texts by key theorists and commentary on their contributions, as well as through reflection about how these perspectives might inform our understanding of public policy.

Module aims

• To develop an understanding of the social constitution of the state and the economy

• To introduce key theories of the political economy of the liberal-democratic state

• To scrutinise tensions between ‘the liberal’ and ‘the democratic’ in the liberal-democratic state

• To develop understanding of critical perspectives on the liberal-democratic state

• To develop written and verbal presentation skills, and research skills


Module Director:

Chris Rogers


This module is worth 15 CATS