What is the course about?
An introduction to some of the key themes and issues in the psychological understanding of politics. The course covers the psychological components of political belief and behaviour. Questions such as whether engagement with politics is more emotional or a matter of social identity and background, the role a leader’s personality plays in shaping their political career, and why we vote the way we do. Examples will be used throughout with course participants encouraged to draw on and express their own political interests. We will also draw on the relevant aspects of political philosophy and political science.
What will we cover?
Politics & Personality - what do our political views tell us about ourselves and our political beliefs, if anything?
Power, Persuasion, & Influence - does image really influence the way we vote? how might our hopes, fears, and emotions be used by campaigners?
Identity & Identification - what role does nationality, ethnicity, class, social status, or gender play in shaping our political views, decisions, and even our individual psychology?
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Explain, simply, what political psychology is and seeks to do using your own examples.
• Discuss the formation of your own political views from a psychological perspective.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No prior knowledge is assumed, and the level will tend to adjust to the overall level of participants. A willingness to critically and creatively engage with ideas and some basic familiarity with discussion/debate, argument, and evaluation will be beneficial.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The sessions are ‘seminar’ format - i.e. questions and discussion are welcomed and are central to our thinking through the topics presented. However, given the limitations of time and the different wishes and interests of
participants (some engage more by listening, some more by talking), discussions may sometimes be shortened.
Course topics will be covered by short verbal presentations with slides, including any relevant video clips. Slides and
other materials will be available online.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
None. Materials for your own note-taking, as you prefer.
You might be interested in this book:
Westen, Drew. (2008) The Political Brain: The role of emotion in deciding the fate of the nation.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
PP114Cross cultural psychology
PP128 Child Psychology
PP115 Psychology of Trauma.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details