How should political systems be organised? This fundamental question remains entirely relevant today, as countries and organisations around the world seek to pursue complex objectives and to satisfy diverse stakeholders. In this unit, students tackle this question, drawing upon the writings of the theorists and practitioners of power themselves rather than solely via interpretations by others. The course begins with some general questions on dictatorship and democracy. It then moves on to examine the writings of a range of important political theorists. These writings will include examples from Ancient Greece, the Renaissance period in Europe, the Enlightenment period in Europe and America, the Totalitarian movements of the 20th Century, and some diverse contemporary political contexts.

Unit details

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Students enrolled in course code ABAB and LBLA must complete at least 72 credit points (equivalent to 6 units) in Year 1 before undertaking any Level 2 units.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Compare and contrast theories regarding the nature of democracy and dictatorship and the various forms in which these doctrines really exist;  
  2. Critically analyse and evaluate concepts and arguments related to political doctrines;  
  3. Inspect, gather and critically employ research regarding political theory; and  
  4. Articulate arguments and analysis in a precise and concise fashion, both orally and in written form.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Exercise Comparison of political systems exercise 20%
Essay Academic essay 50%
Report Reflective report and presentation 30%

Where to next?

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