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Identity, Culture, Politics

  • Module code: PO6012
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 5 Politics of equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Culture and politics are often taken for granted; we tend to assume we know what they are. However, when it comes to defining either culture or politics, much uncertainty arises. Does culture mean a collection of artefacts or a ‘web of meaning’ as anthropologists would put it? Is culture part of a superstructure or part and parcel of hegemony? Is it part of structure which constrains human behaviour? What is politics? If the personal is political as feminists have claimed, is everything and anything politics? Is the distinction between the public and private no longer tenable? What is the relationship between culture and politics? Is there any? Is culture driving politics or the other way round? And where is identity situated in this relationship? The module explores these fundamental questions using identity politics as an overall framework.

Identity politics is an umbrella term that refers to a type of politics which does not appear to be class based, such as environmental politics or the LGBT movement. While the traditional political parties are generally losing their members, these often single-issue based movements attract more participants, thus facilitating political participation of a different form. The central contention in the idea of identity politics is that the focus of politics has shifted from industrial values to post-industrial values (Inglehart), and that we are witnessing the rise and development of new types of politics in which identity and culture play as major a role as class position, if not a more important one. This is a contestable claim which deserves careful examination. For instance, is the idea of identity politics a form of ideology in the Marxist sense?

The module use the idea of identity politics as a starting point to investigate culture and identity in today’s politics through thematic studies and case studies.

 

Aims

  • To develop      students’ understanding of the interplay among culture, identity and      politics;
  • To equip      students with enhanced knowledge and understanding of the different ways      in which culture and identity are political in themselves and inform institutional      politics;
  • To enhance      student’s awareness of some of the contemporary forms of politicisation      and de-politicisation of culture and identity;
  • To enable      students to situate the above in the changing social and political      contexts of the contemporary world.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

 

  • Demonstrate      knowledge and understanding of the complex relationship between culture,      identity and politics;
  • Articulate      and engage to an advanced level with the politicization of culture and      identity;
  • Demonstrate      the ability to differentiate and review critically alternative theoretical      perspectives on the politicisation of culture and identity;
  • Demonstrate      the ability to relate at a sophisticated level cultural and identity      practices to wider social and political transformations.

Curriculum content

  • Approaches      to identity politics
  • Different      types of political participation
  • Culture as      ideology
  • Theories      of culture and identity
  • Post-industrial      values
  • The role      of media in politics
  • Norms and      identity politics
  • Religion
  • Ethnicity      and race
  • Gender
  • Class
  • Sexuality
  • Politics      as social movement

Teaching and learning strategy

A total of two hours of timetabled, class room teaching is envisaged. Teaching will take the form of one-hour lecture and one-hour seminar. The one hour lecture will take an interactive approach to introducing concepts, issues, themes and debates and to setting the background for seminar discussions. The seminars are designed to provide students with the platform to engage in formative exercise that include class debates and discussions, mini-presentations and the use of the VLA to record (in the form of a blog) the development of the practical summative assessment.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures (22 hours) and seminars (22 hours) 44
Guided independent study Guided reading, preparation for presentations and course work 256
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summatively:

  • A practical piece such as a poster, briefing material, or brochure on a relevant theoretical or empirical theme (1000 words);
  • A      1,500-word essay on theoretical issues in identity politics
  • A      1,500-word report on a case of identity politics

 

Formatively:

  • A blog on      the development of the practical piece
  • Mini-presentations      in class
  • Seminar discussion

 

The assessment strategy is designed to allow for the scaffolding of knowledge throughout the module. Formative exercises such as blogging about the developing stages of the practical project as well as seminar discussions allow for feedback and feedforward that enable students to prepare for the practical project. The work on the theoretical and empirical themes in the practical project acts as a preparatory stage for more in-depth critical engagement with the content of the module, which is then assessed summative through the essay and the report. Formative exercises such as seminar debates and short presentations, support students in the preparation of different aspects of the essay and of the report.

In addition, the focus on practice-based summative exercises (practical piece and report) supports the development and honing of employability related skills, as the assessments aim at replicating industry-based work.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the complex relationship between culture, identity and politics Formatively: Seminar discussion, mini-presentation, blog; Summatively: A 1,500-word report; Practical piece (1000 words)
Articulate and engage at an advanced level and engage with the politicisation of culture and identity Formatively: Seminar discussion, mini-presentation; Summatively: A 1,500-word essay; A 1,500-word report
Demonstrate the ability to differentiate and review critically alternative theoretical perspectives on the politicisation of culture and identity Formatively: Seminar discussion, mini-presentation; blog Summatively: A 1,500-word essay; A 1,500-word report
Demonstrate the ability to relate at a sophisticated level cultural and identity practices to wider social and political transformations Formatively: Seminar discussion, mini presentation, blog; Summatively: A 1,500-word essay; Practical piece (1000 words);

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Practical piece 1000 words 30
CWK Essay 1500 words 35
CWK Case study 1500 words 35
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Appiah, K. A. (2007) The Ethics of Identity, Princeton: PUP.

 

Calhoun, C. (1994) Social Theory and the Politics of Identit., Oxford: Blackwell.

Bibliography recommended reading

Archer M. S. (1988) Culture and Agency. Cambridge: CUP.

 

Bauman, Z. (2000) Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

 

Beck, U. (1992) Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. London: SAGE.

 

Bourdieu, P. (1991) Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity Press.

 

Brubaker, R. and Cooper, F. (2000) ‘Beyond ‘‘identity’’’, Theory and Society, 29(1): 1–47.

 

Gellner, E. (1987) Culture, Identity and Politics. Cambridge: CUP.

 

Krook, M. L. and Childs, S.(2010) Women, Gender, and Politics: a Reader. Oxford: OUP.

 

Martin, D. (2014) ‘Nationalism and religion; collective identity and choice: the 1989 revolutions, Evangelical Revolution in the Global South, revolution in the Arab World’, Nations and Nationalism, 20 (1): 1–17.

 

Mooney, A. (2011) Language, Society and Power: an Introduction. 3rd ed. London: Routledge.

 

Turner, B. (2006) ‘Religion and politics: nationalism, globalisation and empire’, Asian Journal of Social Science, 34(2): 209-224.

 

Williams, R.H. (2013) ‘Civil religion and the cultural politics of national identity in Obama’s America’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 52 (2): pp. 239-257.

 

Woodward, K. (2004) Questioning Identity: Gender, Class, Nation. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

 

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