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This course builds on the introduction to political institutions in first year to explore the complex of institutions described as the European Union. The course will explore the history of the EU and other European institutions, give an outline of the operations of the various EU bodies and explore the relationship between the EU, other locations of global power (such as the US, NATO or global financial institutions) and the “Third World”. Students will be introduced to a range of key political conflicts within the EU, such as those between states with different interests and different visions of the future of the EU, those between different political party “families” within the EU or those between different locations of power within the EU. The course will explore some important theoretical issues raised by the EU, such as location of political power in an age of supra-national institutions and the ways in which the increasing significance of such institutions can be explained. It will also tackle key normative issues associated with the EU, such as the “democratic deficit”, the definition of “Europe” and the conflict between social-democratic and neo-liberal versions of the “European project”.