Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 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

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

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitPhilosophy
OfferedNot offered in 2014
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 and advanced 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.
  6. Undertaken independent research and reading in completing the assignments.


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

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

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

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


12 points at 2nd year in either Philosophy, Politics, or Human Rights