Introduction to Political Ideas

Subject 166-108 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours/week , 5 additional hours/week. Total of 8 hours per week.
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Verity Burgmann


Verity Burgmann
Subject Overview: An accessible survey of the most important ideas in Western political thinking since Plato and Aristotle, with emphasis on the major schools of thought since the eighteenth century ‘Enlightenment’, especially those that have had significant political impacts. The ideas studied include liberalism, Marxism, anarchism, communism, socialism, nationalism, fascism, conservatism, feminism, neo-liberalism and environmentalism. Tutorial discussion focuses on eleven primary source documents of famous political essays, in the subject reading pack, which include: Rousseau, ‘Origin of Inequality’; Marx and Engels, ‘The Communist Manifesto’; Mill, ‘On Liberty’ Bakunin, ‘State and Society’; Fanon, ‘The Wretched of the Earth’; and Friedman, ‘Capitalism and Freedom’.
  • understand how political ideologies in the post-1945 world have developed;
  • understand how these ideologies have helped to shape our world;
  • understand why there has been a backlash against the radical ideologies developed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
Assessment: An essay of 500 words 12.5% (due early in semester), an essay of 1500 words 37.5% (due mid-semester) and a 2-hour exam 50% (during the examination period).
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available.
Recommended Texts: A Heywood, Political Ideologies, (3rd ed.), 2003.
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
Generic Skills:
  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • be able to communicate knowledge ideologically and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision;
  • be able to participate in team work through small group discussions.

Formerly available as 166-108 'Contemporary Ideologies and Movements'. Students who have completed 166-108 'Contemporary Ideologies and Movements' are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Available as a Breadth subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts (Media & Communications) and Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Diploma in Arts (Political Science)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Political Science Major
Politics & International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies

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