Urban Political Theory
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleMAN-MPOL047
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryMA (Master)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Nijmegen School of Management; Master Political Science;
M.J.A. Knieriem, MSc
Other course modules lecturer
dr. B.R. van Leeuwen
Other course modules lecturer
dr. B.R. van Leeuwen
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. B.R. van Leeuwen
Other course modules lecturer
dr. B.R. van Leeuwen
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
2  (06/11/2023 to 28/01/2024)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
1. The ability to apply political theories to moral dilemmas specific to the urban scale.
2. The ability to interpret and explain a number of key texts within this area of research.
3. The ability to present coherently and consistently key arguments of a philosophical text, including your own assessment, and discuss this with others.
4. The ability to critically analyse these texts and evaluate the expressed points of view.
5. The ability to develop one’s own grounded theoretical perspective on one (or some) of the themes/debates that are part of this course.
Urbanization is rapidly changing the way in which most citizens of contemporary states live. This massive shift from a spread-out pattern of human settlement to one of concentration in urban centers represents “a new and fundamental step in man’s social evolution” (Davis, 1965). Many citizens now live in large and dense agglomerations that involve a degree of human contact and of social complexity never before known. The objective of this master course is to examine a number of normative questions that are timely and relevant in the light of these developments. Urbanites have been characterized as blasé (Simmel), indifferent (Wirth) and as living side-by-side (Young). Is this typical city dweller a challenge or an asset for dealing with urban diversity? And relatedly, should we slow down the process of ethnic clustering and segregation in order to avoid  incivility or “the fall of public man” (Sennett)? Furthermore, gentrification is transforming many urban neighborhoods. But is this really a problem? And what to think of people living in our urban centers without a home? Should we allow homelessness? And could cities be more just if there would be a different division of labour between city government and state or even supra-state levels? Should ‘mayors rule the world’ (Barber)?
The underlying idea of the course is to look at the central themes of political theory — e.g. liberalism, agonism, citizenship, politics of difference, care-ethics, justice, cosmopolitanism — through the urban lens and in the process contribute to an emerging urban political theory. Crucial for the course is that discussions remain open and free from ‘no-go’ area’s. 

Presumed foreknowledge
Bachelor's degree Political Science or equivalent. Criteria apply for exchange students, contact the course coordinator.
Test information
Paper and participation. Partial results from previous years remain valid.
Number of participants subject to availability
Ma 1

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Test weight7
Test typePaper
OpportunitiesBlock 2, Block 3


Test weight3
Test typeParticipation
OpportunitiesBlock 2, Block 3