Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitPhilosophy
OfferedCaulfield Second semester 2013 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Mr Robert Arrell


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%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

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

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


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