Universiteit Leiden

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Political Culture and National Identities (MA)

In the master’s programme Political Culture and National Identities at Leiden University you will be at the forefront of a new approach to understand how national politics and identities in Europe are conceived.

An international perspective

You will be part of a master's programme that takes a broad, comparative approach to the study of the political and national identities of a number of European countries and the United States spanning the period from 1789 until the present. The programme takes an international perspective by looking at the relations between different  countries in the Western World instead of the more limited national approaches. Your understanding of how national identities and political views have evolved will enable you to make a valuable contribution to the debates that continue to dominate both public and academic forums, including discussions about the EU, democracy and populism.

Cultural transfer

You will examine the evolution of the political culture and national identities of countries such as the Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany, Russia or the United States – and how these countries influenced each other through 'cultural transfer': the adoption of examples from other countries and the inspiration they engender. You will explore how ‘cultural transfer’ can be applied to the political domain, for instance with regard to social movements, parties, parliaments and the use of national symbols and myths.

Focus on political debate

You can choose to delve further into the debating culture in the Netherlands, and the linguistic, argumentation and rhetorical analysis of the political debate by opting for the Political Debate specialisation.

Since the recent electoral success of such politicians as Fortuyn, Wilders and Marijnissen, the political debate in the Netherlands has been in the spotlight. The debating style of politicians and Members of Parliament is under discussion in television programmes and the print media. What makes a person good in debates? What may you say and what may you not say? And how important is the way a politician presents himself?

You will learn about the different forms of political discussion and the issues surrounding the rules of debate. You will attend lectures on the historical development of the debating culture in the Netherlands, the linguistic, argumentation and rhetorical analysis of the political debate. You will also be trained in debating by the Netherlands Debating Institute. The programme is unique in the Netherlands.

Note that this option is only available to students starting in September, and that the language of instruction is Dutch.