Since 1978, the Centre for Social and Political Thought has been home to the internationally renowned MA in Social and Political Thought, one of the only programmes of its kind in the world. The establishment of the MA was inspired by the idea that politics is inextricable from human society. Therefore, the academic division between sociology and social theory on the one hand, and political theory and political philosophy on the other is not just highly artificial, it is also a barrier to understanding. SPT aims to surmount this barrier with its interdisciplinary orientation to the subject.
Students may also undertake an MPhil or DPhil in Social and Political Thought. All of the Centre's postgraduate programmes are unique in that they give students the opportunity to study the various European traditions of social theory, political sociology, Marxism and Frankfurt School critical theory, alongside the diverse contributions of Anglo-American political theory, constructivist theory from Kant to Rawls, and communitarian or neo-Aristotelian theory. Major historical figures of social and political thought, such as Aristotle, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche, are studied alongside the work of more contemporary figures such as Adorno, Bourdieu, Boltanski and Habermas. This is counterbalanced by attention to contemporary issues in post-colonialism, feminism and race critical theory.
SPT is based in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sussex which is one of few in Britain that is strong in European and Continental as well as analytic philosophy. Students in SPT can also benefit from the interdisciplinary tradition of Sussex university by taking courses across Sociology, International Relations, Politics, Philosophy, and Intellectual History, as well as Social and Political Thought.
Many of our students have gone onto successful careers in research and teaching, law, the media, and NGOs. Over the last 30 years a substantial number of leading academics in the UK and elsewhere have passed through the programme.