EU478      Half Unit
The Culture of European Politics

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Simon Glendinning CBG.7.01


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in European Studies (Research), MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World) and MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Over the last three hundred years European societies have undergone a fundamental changeover from a traditional form, with a largely self-sufficient agrarian economy, into a modern, industrial and technological form based on international trade and tele-communication. This revolution developed in the seventeenth century first and only in Europe, but today, through processes of globalization that are, in some parts of the world, inseparable from colonialism, it has spread worldwide and increasingly dominates the entire planet. This course explores one of the basic dimensions of this unprecedented globalization: the culture of European politics.

We are used to speaking about globalization as a political-economic phenomenon, but its European origin makes it also an unavoidably cultural one. Europe’s predominant cultural form – its double form, both Christian and secular – is not a neutral set-up, and other world cultures can find themselves alienated from and in revolt against everything that belongs to what might be called the Christianizing of the world, whether the forces in play are colonial, commercial, or ideological. International migrations and projects of European integration sharpen these concerns and add new ones. This is the background to our study of the culture of European politics, its history and heritage from ancient European empires, to the European Union and beyond.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 27.5 hours across Lent Term.  This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of recorded lectures, flipped lectures (online discussion of lecture materials), and in-person (or, if a School closure demands it, online) seminars. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of the Lent Term.  A review session will be held at the start of the Summer Term to prepare for the online assessment.                

Formative coursework

2 essays of 2000 words

Indicative reading

  • Norman Davies, 'Introduction' to Europe: A History
  • Anthony Pagden (ed) The Idea of Europe
  • Roger Scruton, The West and the Rest.


Online assessment (100%) in the ST.

The online assessment for this course will be administered via Moodle.  Questions will be made available at a set date/time and students will be given a set period in the ST to complete the answers to questions and upload their responses back into Moodle.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2019/20: 24

Average class size 2019/20: 8

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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