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Modern political ideas

In this module you'll be investigating what political ideas are, how they are generated and the impact they have locally, nationally and internationally in shaping our world. You'll see how political ideas are studied, assess their significance and discover which thinkers and theorists best help us explore and understand the modern political world. In addition, you'll be encouraged to draw on your own independent study of political ideas and political thinkers. You'll become equipped with the key practical skills needed to carry out research, draw on critical reflection and enable you to learn more of the writing and evaluative skills used to explore and evaluate political ideas.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
DD316
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
OU SCQF FHEQ
3 10 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

This module is explored in the following four blocks:

Block 1: Modern political ideas: An introduction
This block is an exciting introduction to the key questions of the module: what are political ideas, why study political ideas; how are political ideas generated and why do we need thinkers and theorists? Starting with the political fall-out to the financial crisis of 2007–2008, you'll look at the core ideas of the various populist movements that grew in its wake. Moving on to contending views of Englishness, the legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers and the democratic question of ‘Who Speaks for Wales?’, the central theme running through the module is that political ideas ‘live’ and ‘travel’ across different historical contexts. Finally, you'll consider the very different ways political ideas have been generated from the early pamphleteers to social media. 

Block 2: Democracy and the State
You'll explore key political themes of democracy, participation, leadership and the nature and power of the state. The block includes case studies of the movements for democracy in Catalonia and its historically contested relationship with the Spanish state, as well as the transition to democracy in South Africa. A key aim of this block will be to build a framework of political ideas that can both introduce some core concepts in political theory and provide an understanding of how political ideas manifest themselves in the contemporary political world. You'll consider the work and continuing relevance of theorists of the state and democracy.

Block 3: Citizenship and Noncitizens
You'll examine the idea of citizenship, considering what citizenship means and how who is a citizen is understood. You'll be introduced to both classic and critical literature in this area and explore ideas and examples of unequal citizenship through a range of different case studies. Accompanying this will be an exploration of the relationship between the nation-state and citizenship and ideas that challenge this relationship.

Block 4: Ideas in action
The focus of this wide-ranging block will be on the ways in which political ideas influence change. You'll get the chance to study both the theories and consequences of revolutions (especially the Russian revolution), the nature of revolutionary thought and some of the consequences for countries who have experienced modern revolutions. You'll consider the nature of totalitarianism (through the ideas of Hannah Arendt and others), its implications for the relationship between the state and the people, and examine the role that ideas played in the fall of communism in Poland. You'll also consider the impact of ideas of personal liberation on social change in contemporary Britain, before looking at ideas that underpinned the modern transformations in Iran and Iraq. The block revisits the key questions of this module – what are political ideas?, how do they impact politics?, why study political ideas?, and how are political ideas generated?

Vocational relevance

This module offers a comprehensive grounding in the study of politics at OU level 3 and provides opportunities to develop skills that will be relevant to your current or future career.

Studying this module, as part of a social sciences qualification, could open up employment opportunities in a wide range of occupations in politics; business; banking; insurance; education; health professions; administration; law; social services; voluntary and campaigning organisations; the media; public relations; public service organisations and government (national and local); planning and environmental management; criminal justice system; and social welfare organisations. The module provides a set of transferable skills and aptitudes that are relevant to many other career pathways.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

Modern political ideas (DD316) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2028. 

 

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at OU levels 1 and 2 with the OU. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU.

    Our OU level 1 module Investigating the social world (DD103) and the OU level 2 module Understanding politics: ideas and institutions in the modern world (DD211) provide ideal preparation for this module.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    05 Oct 2019 Jun 2020 -

    Registration now closed

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2028.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 23/09/2019.

    What's included

    The module is primarily delivered online via the module website, which includes all study support, a multiplicity of online text, interactive and audio-visual resources, and assessment materials. There is one printed module textbook. You will also need to buy a set book.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    Materials to buy

    Set books

    • Orwell, G. Nineteen Eighty Four Penguin £8.99 - ISBN 9780141187761

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying DD316 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.