Contemporary Political Theory

Subject POLS20006 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty contact hours per semester. 1 x two hour lecture and 1 x one hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at Level 1

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Mr Mark Triffitt


Subject Overview:

This subject examines the development of political theory in the last thirty years. It focuses on the emergence of key theoretical paradigms such as contemporary liberalism, communitarianism, multiculturalism, radical pluralism, post-structuralism and post-modernism and the ways in which these schools of thought have framed key conceptual debates on ideology, power and sovereignty. The subject maps this terrain and analyses it through examples such as immigration, violence, the role of religion in public life, markets and economic rationality, the environment and welfare reform. Contemporary political theory emerges as vibrant and dynamic and the subject demonstrates how theory is integral to a developed understanding of current political events.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Be able to coherently explain key concepts in political theory;
  • Be able to identify, interpret and discuss major trends and debates in contemporary political theory;
  • Be able to critically analyse and apply key theoretical concepts to contemporary political problems;
  • Be able to demonstrate qualitative research skills, drawing upon empirical and theoretical scholarship in the social and political sciences.
  • A research essay of 2000 words (50%) due during semester.
  • A take home exam of 2000 words (50%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Recommended Texts:

Catriona McKinnon (2015) Issues In Political Theory, 3rd edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Anthropology
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Political Science Major
Politics and International Studies

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