GV4B9      Half Unit
The Second Europe

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Vesselin Dimitrov CON 3.06


This course is available on the MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in European Studies (Research), MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities and MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course explores the problems of delayed modernisation, problematic democratisation, conflictual nation-building and geopolitical insecurity in the European semi-periphery, including countries such as Russia, Poland, Spain, Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Sweden. It analyses the socio-economic structures, political issues and problems shared by the European semi-periphery from the first wave of liberal globalisation and the emergence of mass politics in the late 19th century to European integration in the early 21st century. It analyses the strategies adopted by political elites and social classes in the face of modernisation, imperial decline, nationalism, and European integration.

Course topics include: The emergence of core and semi-periphery in Europe; Problems of modernisation; Ruling elites and structures of power; State nationalism, sub-state nationalism and problems of nation-state building; Religion: the socio-political power of the church; Political parties and ideologies; Fascism and varieties of right-wing authoritarianism in the 1920s and 1930s; Communism; Empire and EU integration.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the LT for private study and assessment preparation.

Formative coursework

Students are required to submit one formative essay of 2,000 words.

Indicative reading

J Breuilly, Nationalism and the State (MUP, 1993); E Hobsbawm, The Age of Capital, 1848-1875 (London, 1975), The Age of Empire, 1875-1914 (London, 1989), Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991 (London, 1994), and Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (Cambridge, 1992); D Lieven, Empire (London, 2000), and The Aristocracy in Europe, 1815-1914 (London, 1992); M Mann, The Sources of Social Power. Vol. 2, The Rise of Classes and Nation States, 1760-1914, Vol. 3, Global Empires and Revolution, 1890-1945, and Vol. 4, Globalizations, 1945-2011 (Cambridge, 2012-13); B Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Boston, 1967); K Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (Boston, 2001); N Stone, Europe Transformed 1878-1919 (Oxford, 1999); J Zielonka, Europe as Empire: The Nature of  the Enlarged European Union (Oxford, 2007). 


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words).

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 37
Merit 58.7
Pass 4.3
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2015/16: 16

Average class size 2015/16: 10

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills