Not available in 2015/16
GV498      Half Unit

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Leigh Jenco CON4.13


This course is available on the MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities, MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy and MSc in Political Theory. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This seminar explores the political and epistemological issues of multiculturalism, broadly understood, in contemporary political theory. After deciding on a tentative definition for “culture,” we will explore how and why the concept has become so integral to normative theories of contemporary political life. In particular, we will focus on how increasing recognition of plurality within liberal democratic regimes has led to new theories of both culture and community. Along the way, we will consider normative questions such as: Should we encourage “global citizenship,” or should we celebrate the local and the national? If cultures are dynamic and hybrid entities, how can they be identified and protected politically? Are there significant and legitimate differences between “the West” and “the rest”—and if so, how must our interpretive approach change as we include voices from culturally diverse groups into already-established political communities?


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students are invited to write one 2000 word formative essay, due no later than week 10.

Indicative reading

Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, Brian Barry, Culture and Equality, Chandran Kukathas, The Liberal Archipelago, Iris Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference, Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 6
Merit 55.2
Pass 37.9
Fail 0.9

Teachers' comment

Student response to this seminar-style course has been very positive, though students frequently request the inclusion of lectures. Because this is a postgraduate political theory course, however, there are strong pedagogical reasons for conducting it as a seminar--which also conforms to best practice at top research universities in the US and elsewhere. I do not lecture because I hope to create an egalitarian environment for intense, fruitful discussion.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills