Undergraduate course

Introduction to Modern Political Theory

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

Political theory is an interdisciplinary research field in which issues relating to equitable distribution, theory of democracy, recognition of minorities and different understandings of power is central. Political theory analyzes and reflects on current political issues and social, cultural and institutional change processes. The course covers topics related to the main directions and key issues in political theory from about 1970 to the present, with emphasis on both empirical-descriptive and normative theory formations (liberalism, communitarianism, proseduralisme) and postmodern perspective on the state, the individual and society.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course, the student should have

  • a general overview of key concepts, theories and controversies in political theory
  • a general understanding of similarities and differences between different theoretical approaches, argumentation ways and ways of presentation


After completing the course, the student should be able to

  • recognize and critically evaluate theoretical main positions, argumentation ways and ways of presentation in philosophical literature and in public policy discussions
  • convey feature of these main positions and reasoning methods in academic as well as in public contexts
  • reflect on the relevance of different directions in contemporary political theory for understanding the current social, cultural and institutional change processes


After completing the course, the student should be competent to

  • independently identify and evaluate the key literature in contemporary political theory
  • to impart knowledge about this literature and the perspectives it provides on current issues both to a professional and a general public
  • to assess the relevance of central concepts and theories in the analysis of and reflection on key political controversy
  • identify and critically evaluate argumentation ways and ways of presentation in both professional and general texts on social, cultural and institutional change processes

The course can be part of a bachelor's degree with a specialization in philosophy. In combination with other topics and subjects may be included in an education that qualifies for teaching philosophy in high school or college. The course may also be suitable to support specialization in fundamental questions in connection with the study of other subjects.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Approved first semester studies. A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.

Access to the Course

The course is open to students admitted at the University of Bergen

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is offered in the form of lectures and/or seminars.

The number of gatherings may be reduced if the number of students attending the course is less than 4. In that case, the students will be compensated with individual or group tutoring.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

No compulsory requirements.

Forms of Assessment

Four-hour sit-in written examination with questions from various parts of the reading list.

Exams in the course are held every semester.

Grading Scale

From A to F

Course Evaluation

The teaching will be evaluated from time to time.


Contact Information

Department of Philosophy

Email: studierettleiar@fof.uib.no">studierettleiar@fof.uib.no

Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam. The exam location will be published 14 days prior to the exam. Candidates must check their room allocation on Studentweb 3 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Written examination

    13.05.2020, 09:00
    4 hours
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam