Democracy and its Dilemmas

Subject POLS30033 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty contact hours per semester. 2 x one hour lectures 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 Levels 1 & 2

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:


Dr. Clayton Chin

Subject Overview:

This subject will examine contemporary theories of democracy with a particular focus on dilemmas of citizenship in the 21st century. The first part of the subject will introduce the main aspects of democracy as an idea and as a form of government. From this basis—and with continuous reference to contemporary cases such as the Arab Spring, the Danish cartoon controversy, and the Occupy Wall Street movement—the course will examine dilemmas of citizenship as they arise in relation to free speech, tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and sovereignty. In conclusion, the subject will consider possibilities of democratic renewal through comedy and other forms of pop culture.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Understand and compare the main theories of democracy and how these theories conceptualize citizenship as both an idea and as a form of government.
  • Critically apply key concepts such as free speech, tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and sovereignty to debates in contemporary democratic theory about citizenship.
  • Understand and recognize how concepts in democratic theory are used politically as well as ideologically in both domestic and international conflicts about citizenship, in particular with regard to the politics of inclusion and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to combine theoretical research with empirical case studies, including how to formulate and execute a comprehensive argument about democracy and citizenship in the 21st century.
  • Communicate effectively in oral and written formats.


A short essay of 1,000 words (25%) due mid-semester, and a research essay of 3,000 words (75%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: 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

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

This subject is avaialble as breadth to non-Bachelor of Arts students.

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

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