Joint-honours information for 2016 entry

Death of Socialism?

Module L2137

Module details for 2016/17.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

Following the collapse of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the erosion of the central principles of Western social democracy, and the prevalence of free market and capitalist ideas at the start of the century this module looks at the contemporary condition of socialism. Is socialism a relevant, feasible or desirable idea in contemporary society? Or is it dead, merely a historical relic of the 20th century? The module will start by looking at the two predominant conceptions and experiences of socialism of the twentieth century - Marxist and social democratic socialism. What are the main features of these models of socialism? It will then examine criticisms of socialism from liberals and libertarians - such as Hayek and Nozick - and from new social movements - such as the women's movement and the green movement. What critical points are raised by these perspectives and how telling are they? We will look at reasons for the collapse of state socialism in the late 1980s and at attempts in the West to rethink socialism during an era in which neo-liberalism was a predominant force. Do liberal and new social movements criticisms and the collapse of state socialism suggest that socialism is dead? Do attempts to redefine socialism (as market socialism or radical democratic socialism) escape the criticisms of liberals and the new social movements and the problems experienced under old social democracy and state socialism? Or do they indicate that the era of socialism has well and truly passed? In the final topics we shall address this question a little more. We will examine the attempt of New Labour and current European social democrats to respond to the crisis of social democracy and will ask whether there is anything remaining of socialism in such attempts. And we shall examine theses such as that of Fukuyama: that the day of socialism has passed and that capitalism has won the battle.

Module learning outcomes

Make use of constructive feedback on the development of their ideas in the implementation of a research topic related to the currrent existence, viability and desirability of socialism

Identify a topic suitable for research relating to socialism

Plan and carry out a research project which sustains a line of argument about the currrent existence, viability and desirability of socialism

Locate and evaluate a range of resources approriate to a topic on socialism

Essay (4000 words)Semester 1 Assessment Week 1 Mon 16:0070.00%
Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
EssayT1 Week 9 100.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Autumn SemesterSeminar2 hours11111011111
Autumn SemesterLecture1 hour11111011111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Prof Luke Martell

Assess convenor, Convenor

Dr Sabina Avdagic

Assess convenor

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