GV4B9      Half Unit
The Second Europe

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Vesselin Dimitrov


This course is available on the MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Conflict Studies, 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) and MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Tuesday 29 September 2020. You will be informed of the outcome by 17:00 on Wednesday 30 September 2020.

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.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 26 and a half hours in the LT and ST. Some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and seminars.

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 2000 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 summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words).

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 50
Merit 48.6
Pass 1.4
Fail 0

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: Government

Total students 2019/20: 19

Average class size 2019/20: 9

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

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