Faculty of Arts

print version

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit



Dr John Thrasher



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


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.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


A cornerstone unit in Human Rights or twelve credit points of second-year Arts units