ATS2961 - Political ideas - 2018

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

Politics and International Relations

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Paul Muldoon


Dr Paul Muldoon

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units. It is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed two gateway units in Politics.




The unit surveys a broad spectrum of political thinkers and explores their ideas and the historical contexts in which these ideas emerge. It aims to give students an understanding of key concepts and arguments in political philosophy concerning order and disorder, power and authority, tradition and change. The thinkers studied, Socrates, Plato, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Burke, and Marx, are discussed with reference to both the contexts in which they lived and the significance of their ideas both within and beyond those contexts. Learning activities will include lectures, large and small group discussions, short (500 word) and longer (2000 word) written exercises.


Upon successful completion of the unit students should be able to:

  1. Describe and compare ideas from different strands of political thought.
  2. Recognise and evaluate the role of cultural and social contexts in the formulation of political ideas.
  3. Critically discuss political theories concerning nature and reason, power and morality, tradition and revolution.
  4. Effectively research the signification and significance of terms, ideas and arguments in political theory.
  5. Communicate perceptively the key ideas, arguments and contexts of political theories.
  6. Explain explicit or implicit ethical values and assumption/s in various political theories.


Within semester assessment: 60% + Exam: 40%

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

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