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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW2153: Law, Democracy and Populism: The Rise and Fall of Constitutional Democracy

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.

Module Aims

The main aims of this module are twofold. The first is to provide you with the opportunity to identify, understand and assess, from a legal and interdisciplinary perspective, the key components of constitutional democracy. The second, interrelated aim is to give you the tools to critically understand and analyse the defining features of contemporary populism and their implications on constitutional democracy. As such, the module will enable you to explore the relationship between constitutional democracy, populism and legal instruments and institutions, taken broadly, including constitutions and courts. In the same vein, the module will encourage you to reflect on the role of – and consequences of – populism on the exercise of public power in contemporary society. Focusing on the development of independent student research, a final aim of the module is to inculcate analytical, research and presentational skills.

The module is research-led and research-based: it will introduce you to undergraduate-level research and allow you to develop your own research, writing and presentational abilities as key transferable/employment skills. The research-inspired approach is reflected in the teaching and assessment methods. As such, it is a module designed for self-motivating students who enjoy the challenge of independent research, reading and participation in class discussions.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Identify, explain and critically comprehend and assess the key components of constitutional democracy.
2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary populism as a legal phenomenon; and critically identify, comprehend and assess the main constitutional and legal implications of contemporary populism.
Discipline-Specific Skills3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the role(s) of constitutions, courts and other legal instruments and institutions in a constitutional democracy.
4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between populism and legal institutions through a legal and interdisciplinary lens.
Personal and Key Skills5. Research doctrine and (if applicable) case law; and select, integrate and present coherently, reflectively and succinctly, in writing, relevant concepts and arguments.
6. Prepare analytically compelling work that relies on diverse primary and secondary sources, employs appropriate interpretative techniques and presents a nuanced line of argument.
7. Engage in debate effectively and develop complex arguments and opinions with some guidance.