The essay is a conventional discursive essay. You must pick one of the following essay tasks.
- Choose one theorist from the first five weeks of the module and discuss how they would respond to the idea that governments should follow the directives of non-directly elected global organisations (e.g. WHO, WEF, the World Bank etc.). You should use particular examples to support your argument.
- In an era of ‘fake news’ and ‘misinformation’, is democracy a viable system for choosing governments? Choose one theorist from the first five weeks of the module and draw on their ideas to support your answer.
- If Elon Musk were to run Twitter in accordance with the ideas of one of the theorists from the first five weeks of the module, which one would you recommend and why?
Your essay will be 2000 words long (i.e. between 1900 and 2100 – but aim for 2000).
For the essay, your focus must be on Plato, Hegel, Marx or Gramsci. Your essay must engage with original material by your selected theorist. This may be the text selected for the tutorial and/or other relevant work by the same theorist. You may use other theorists from any part of the module to accentuate points in your argument or to present a clarifying contrast. You must support your argument with references to authoritative academic sources.
As the theories and theorists on this module are extremely well known and very influential, you will find that there is an abundance of secondary material available discussing, utilising and criticising their ideas. Not all of this material is of the same quality. One skill you will be developing over the module is the ability to distinguish solid from flaky material. Here are some tips. Ask yourself the following:
- Is the material published in a reputable / peer reviewed publication?
- Is the interpretation of the text supported with reference to the text?
- Does the author appear qualified to comment?
You may find a seemingly good or interesting idea in a text which doesn’t conform to usual academic standards, such as someone’s personal blog. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad idea. But it does mean you shouldn’t rely on it on its own. Check the idea. Go back to the original source and see if you can actually support this reading with the text. Look for other more established authors who have made the same point. Conversely, of course, just because something is published in a peer reviewed journal doesn’t mean that it is ‘right’. You can argue against things, but you need to be prepared to construct an argument. This is actually helpful as your essay is effectively an argument.
Given your essay is an argument, you need to know what your argument is before you start to write. Work out your ideas, the support you need, the logical order of points, before you start to write in prose. This is called planning. Planning is essential to a good essay.
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