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 UnitSchool of Social Science, South Africa
OfferedSouth Africa Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Mr Leon Marincowitz


The unit introduces some central debates in contemporary political theory. The unit adopts a global perspective but looks at issues through a South African and African lens. The first third of the unit examines some essential recent work on the liberal conception of justice and equality. The second part of the unit looks at socialist, feminist and communitarian critiques of liberalism. The final third of the unit is concerned with the foundations and limits of religious toleration and individual freedom in a multicultural society. These topcis are linked to society in South Africa and Africa in general, with particular reference to some of the political problems and dilemmas encountered within this context.


Students successfully completing the unit will have an understanding of current debates over the core political concepts of justice, freedom and equality. Students will be able to formulate and analyse these issues in relation to the problem of inter-cultural tolerance in a pluralistic society.
Students at third year level will also have developed skills in independent research in political philosophy; a deeper and more thorough understanding of the issues covered in the unt; and a familiarity with a wider range of literature in political philosophy. Students will also be able to critically assess South African society and its accompanying political problems from the point of view of the unit.


Written work: 90% (4050 words)
Tutorial Participation: 10%
1. Weekly Assignments: 1800 words (40%)
2. Tutorial Presentation (5%)
3. Tutorial Attendance (5%)
4. Essay: 2250 words (50%)

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

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