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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Terry Macdonald


The idea of democracy is ubiquitous in the contemporary world - diverse regime types and institutional systems claim democratic credentials and democracy is widely accepted as the most legitimate system of government. But the ideal of 'rule by the people' is not easy to achieve, and faces particular difficulties in large-scale modern societies characterised by institutional complexity, pluralism/multiculturalism, and globalization. This unit considers what the ideal of democracy can mean in contemporary political life, and how (or whether) it can be institutionally achieved.


On successful completion of the unit, students will have:

  1. Mastered basic concepts in democratic theory;
  2. Acquired familiarity with the concepts and methodology of social choice theory;
  3. Developed an understanding of the major theoretical difficulties involved in the ideal of democratic rule;
  4. Be able to identify relevant literature for the purposes of scholarly work on the nature and justification of democracy;
  5. Improved written and oral communication skills.

Students taking the unit at third year level will have differentiated assessment, and in completing the unit successfully, will have:
  1. Become familiar with more advanced concepts in democratic theory;
  2. Undertaken more independent research and reading in completing the assignments.


Written (3500 words): 80%
Class test (1 hour): 20%

Contact hours

One 1-hour lecture per week
One 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Human rights theory


A first year sequence in one of: Politics, Philosophy, or Human Rights Theory