GV4B9      Half Unit
The Second Europe

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Vesselin Dimitrov


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

This course is not controlled access. If you request a place and meet the criteria, you are likely to be given 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; Political parties and ideologies; State nationalism, sub-state nationalism and problems of nation-state building; Religion: the socio-political power of the church; Ruling elites and structures of power; 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 32 hours in the Winter Term and Spring Term.

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

Formative coursework

Students are required to submit one formative essay of 2000 words in the Winter Term.

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).


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

Student performance results

(2020/21 - 2022/23 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 56.9
Merit 43.1
Pass 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2023/24: 9

Average class size 2023/24: 9

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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