Political Theory: Legitimacy and Justice (MSc)
The specialisation consists of a core course in political theory, a methods course, and several optional modules, including political theory options on themes such as Contemporary Theories of Justice, Human Rights Theory, Borders and Migration, and Environmental Ethics. The specialisation concludes with a masters thesis where you are encouraged to develop your own intellectual interests in an original political theory thesis.
Political obligation in relation to topical issues
The core course of the programme takes up one of the most consequential themes in political theory: the issue of political obligation. Currently, we are witnessing a tendency to contest the authority of the state in liberal democracies all over the world. What does the legitimacy of this authority consist in and (why) should one obey the laws that are prescribed by such authorities? Are their legitimate grounds for resistance to the state’s actions? Do we have to judge the state on moral grounds or does the state obey its own imperatives?
These and similar questions have exercised the greatest minds, from Socrates onwards. In this course they will be studied both as such and in relation to topical issues such as citizenship, immigration, and secession. In this way, the course serves as a venue for students to start exploring subjects for their thesis.
- Legitimacy and Political Obligation (10 EC). Acquaint yourself with the related issues of political legitimacy and political obligation. Analyse the logic of theories of philosophical anarchism, consent theory, principles and fair play.
- Thesis Seminar (20 EC). Deepen your understanding of theories and methods related to research on your specific subfield of Political Science. Apply them to your specific topic as part of your master thesis.
- Great Debates in Political Science (5 EC). Read seminal Political Science texts and familiarise yourself with the—often opposing—views of leading scholars. Discover how their ideas and approaches have inspired other researchers and discuss these with your fellow students and lecturer.
- Methods in Political Science (5 EC). Develop compelling research questions, devise sound schemes for conducting the research necessary to answer those questions, and, ultimately, follow through with the research itself.
- Elective seminars, such as Crisis Management, Governance of Human Security, Political Communication and Media Effects, States, Citizens and Migrants, Contestation of International Authority, Elections in Emerging Democracies, Peaceful and Violent Strategies to Secession and Independent Statehood, Human Rights Challenges posed by Global Transformations, Russia and the World, Civilians in Conflict, Violence and Peace in the Age of Social Media, or Algorithmic Security Politics.
The structure of the programme allows for an internship in the period early January to the end of March, followed up by taking part in the Internship Research Project Seminar. In this seminar, you will complete your thesis based on the research you conducted during your internship. The institute’s internship coordinator will facilitate placement, but the responsibility to find an organisation lies with the individual student. The organisation must allow and facilitate the student to implement a research project relevant to the organisation or its activities.
Please note that a fixed number of students will be allowed to conduct research on the basis of an internship. This is because the Institute of Political Science wants to offer students full support and guidance during and after the internship. The internship is subject to approval by the Institute. Among several other criteria, the academic level of the internship will play a key role in the decision process.