GV4B9      Half Unit
The Second Europe

This information is for the 2021/22 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.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access) and demand is typically very high. Priority is given to students on the listed programmes and students on other programmes may not get a place.

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 economic 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 Lent Term and Summer Term. 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

K Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (Boston, 2001); 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); 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); N Stone, Europe Transformed 1878-1919 (Oxford, 1999); J Zielonka, Europe as Empire: The Nature of the Enlarged European Union (Oxford, 2007).


Online assessment (75%, duration: 7 days) in the ST.
Essay (25%, 2500 words).

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 47.2
Merit 50
Pass 2.8
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 24

Average class size 2020/21: 12

Controlled access 2020/21: 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