Political Science: The Politics of Pluralism

Course - second cycle - 7.5 credits

Syllabus for students spring 2017, spring 2016

Course Code:
ST620L revision 1.1
Swedish name:
Statsvetenskap: Pluralismens politik
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Political Science
Date of ratification:
18 November 2015
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
18 January 2016
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
22 August 2014

Entry requirements

A Bachelor’s Degree within a social science field, e.g., Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies, International Relations, Human Rights or a related major field. English B

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course is part of the main field of study Political Science at the advanced level and meets the degree requirements for the degree of Master, main field of study Political Science.


The purpose of this course is to address issues pertaining to societal dimensions of international migration as it translates to cultural diversity by applying theoretical perspectives, mainly from political philosopy.


What are the claims and challenges of cultural pluralism? What are some of the major theoretical positions regarding cultural pluralism and how does it influence and find expression through politics and policy?
This course addresses these question by engaging with the by now large and diverse literature on multiculturalism, which focuses on how public authorities ought to respond to minority groups’ claims to recognition, inclusion, equality, autonomy, and self-government. Having analyzed this literature, the course turns to empirical and political aspects of pluralism. The main question with which the coruse grapples is how states and societies change as a result of (increased) diversity, which in turn opens up for a large number of more specifica question, including the relationship between diversity and social welfare, parliamentary politics, constitutionalism, national identity, and integration policies.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
On completion of the course the student shall demonstrate knowledge and understanding of

  • historical and contemporary processes that contribute to increased diversity in modern societies and the connection between e.g. international migration, citizenship, and integration policies;

  • theoretical perspectives on multiculturalism and different states’ ways of handling multiculturalism as a social reality;
  • methodological approaches to the study of questions of relevance for policy.

Skills and abilities
On completion of the course the student shall demonstrate an ability to

  • compare and contrast different theoretical standpoints for the purpose of gaining a more thorough and complex understanding of ways of thinking about pluralism;
  • apply theoretical concepts on empirical phenomena for the purpose of developing their own ability to discuss different ways of handling practical questions pertaining to diversity, as well as to argue for and against pluralism.

Judgement and approach
On completion of the course the student shall demonstrate a capacity to

  • scientifically evaluate information and policies using both constitutional and normative frameworks;
  • identity their own bias for the purpose of identifying the need for deeper and wider understanding of the issues at hand.

Learning activities

Teaching consists of both lectures and seminars.


Evaluation is based on two written assignments: one theoretical paper on theories on multiculturalism and a policy report, addressed to an imaginary public authority that is faced with questions pertaining to cultural diversity.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

  • Brown, Wendy (1993) ‘Wounded Attachments’. Political Theory, vol. 21, no. 3:390-410.
  • Brubaker, Rogers (1992) Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany. Cambridge Ma.: Harvard University Press.
  • Fraser, Nancy (1995) ‘From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a ‘Post-Socialist Age’. New Left Review, no. 212: 68-93.
  • Honneth, Axel (1992) ‘Integrity and Disrespect’. Political Theory, vol. 20, no. 2: 187-201.
  • Joppke, Christian (2007) ‘Immigration and the identity of citizenship: the paradox of universalism’. Citizenship Studies, vol. 12, no.6: 533-546.
  • Kymlicka, Will (1995) Multicultural Citizenship. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Parekh, Bhikhu (2000) Rethinking Multiculturalism, Cultural Diversity and Political Theory. London: Macmillan Press.
  • Rawls, John (1987) ‘The Idea of an Overlapping Consensus’. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, vol. 7, no. 1: 1-25.
  • Taras, Ray (ed.) (2013) Challenging Multiculturalism: European Models of Diversity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Taylor, Charles et al (1994) Multiculturalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Additional material of up to 200 pages.

Course evaluation

The University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The University will compile and summarize the results of course evaluations as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).

Interim rules

If a course ceases to be available or has undergone any major changes, the students are to be offered two opportunities to retake the examination during the year following the change for re-examination, based on the syllabus which applied at registration.

Other Information

The Language of Instruction is English.