Thinking Politically - 2017

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 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem2
  • Assessment: Essay (30%) , Non-Invigilated Exam (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

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

If you have no prior university experience, you should complete BAR100 Academic Learning Skills or COM10006 Academic Literacies: Learning and Communication Practice before starting this unit.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Theory and politics
2The Greek Polis
3The Sophists and Socrates
4Philosophy, Rhetoric and Politics
5Plato on Politics as an Art
6Aristotle on Politics, Rhetoric, and the Human Good
7Thomas More - Utopia
8Machiavelli on Power, Virtue and Politics
9Thomas Hobbes, the English Civil War, and the New Civil Science
10The Concept of Ideology and Nationalism
12Against Ideology? Conservatism
14The Contemporary Scene - the end or the resurgence of ideology?
15Unit 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 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.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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