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PLT2070 - Ideas and Power

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Professor James Walter


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


Why do ideas matter? Because they give us the tools with which we make sense of the world. The way we think determines how we act. Politics is about persuading us to act in some ways rather than others, so how ideas
are deployed is fundamental to politics. When we think politically, we are encouraged to accept certain patterns of power relations. Exploring political language uncovers the power relations that it assumes. What this means for contemporary (and future) Australian politics is explored
through case studies.


Objectives On successful completion of this subject, the student will understand:
That power is given effect by ways of thinking and seeing the world that shape our actions and that politics is implicated in this process;
The general applications of ideas in Western polities;
Some of the specific interpretations of ideas in current Australian politics and their relation to governance.
How to deploy advanced skills in textual interpretation, analysis, argument and communication.
How interpret discourse and to assess not only broad political contest but also the discourse of power in everyday relations


Tutorial report/ review-20% (500 words); Syndicate group: report on outcomes and reflective essay-50%.(2000 words); Exam-30%. (2 hours).

Contact hours

2 hours per week: one one-hour lecture and one one-hour tutorial weeks 1-7; one two-hour seminar/workshop weeks 8-13.


A first year Politics sequence.