Introduction to Political Ideas

Subject POLS10003 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x two hour lecture and 1 x one hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment: Not available




Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

166-108 Introduction to Political Ideas

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:



Subject Overview:

An accessible survey of the most important ideas in political thinking since Confucius and Plato, with emphasis on the major schools of Western political thought since the eighteenth century 'Enlightenment', especially those that have had significant political impacts. The ideas studied include liberalism, Marxism, anarchism, nationalism, communism, fascism, socialism, social democracy, conservatism, neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, feminism and environmentalism. Tutorial discussion focuses on eleven primary source texts of famous political essays, available on the subject website, 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'.

  • have an appreciation of the range of political ideas that have motivated and expressed the needs of large groups of people since ancient times.
  • be familiar with the development and principal arguments of the major schools of Western political thought in the past 250 years.

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.

This subject has a minimum Hurdle Requirement of 75% Tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

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. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop.

Recommended Texts:

A Heywood, Political Ideologies, (5th ed.), 2012.

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.

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

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Political Science Major
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): Politics and International Studies

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