Thinking Politically - 2016

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP3 , SP4
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Essay (30%) , Non-Invigilated Exam (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

This unit was previously known as PLTX107 Thinking Politically.

We often think politically without being aware of it. When we say that some people in our society have not been treated justly or when we condemn violence and injustice in other societies, we are making political judgements and using political concepts. How does our sense of fairness or our compassion in cases such as these relate to our political judgements? This unit explores key political concepts such as justice, equality, democracy and the rule of the law as well as the role of morality in political judgement. We also consider the concept of ideology and examine particular ideologies including: liberalism, nationalism, conservatism and fundamentalism. Among the selected readings for this unit are the classics of political thought such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli and Hobbes.

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. analyse and express their judgement about a range of political phenomena in oral and written form
  2. read and critically interpret some classic and contemporary political texts
  3. think more critically and systematically about politics and the relationship between political ideas and political action, and differentiate between types of political theory
  4. give an account of some central political ideologies, their origins and their historical development.
  • Essay (30%)
  • Non-Invigilated Exam (40%)
  • Participation (10%)
  • Reading (20%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • PLTX107 — Thinking Politically
  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Theory and politics
2The Greek Polis; The Sophists and Socrates; Philosophy, Rhetoric and Politics
3Plato on Politics as an Art
4Aristotle on Politics, Rhetoric, and the Human Good
5Thomas More - Utopia
6Machiavelli on Power, Virtue and Politics
7Thomas Hobbes, the English Civil War, and the New Civil Science
8Reading Week
9The Concept of Ideology and Nationalism
11Against Ideology? Conservatism
13The Contemporary Scene - the end or the resurgence of ideology? Unit summary and revision

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

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