ATS3719 - Modern political thought - 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 Michael Ure


Dr Michael Ure

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


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


ATS2719, AZA2719, AZA3719


Modern political theorists grapple with significant political and social transformations such as capitalism, bureaucratisation, rationalisation and globalization. They diagnose various 'pathologies' they fear might result from these transformations: alienation and injustice, disenchantment and authoritarianism, nihilism and social disintegration. They also identify political solutions to these maladies: revolutionary action, charismatic leadership, new forms of democracy and citizenship, or new types of social movements. This unit examines and assesses modern political theorists' diagnoses of and cures for modern society, focusing on how they conceptualise key political concepts such freedom, power, community and legitimacy. It will do so by examining the political theories of Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Foucault, Habermas and other contemporary critical theorists.


Students who study this unit:

  1. Will acquire knowledge about a broad range of political and social theories, both classical and contemporary, as alternative and differing approaches to analysing social relations, and hence will gain an understanding of how political and sociological knowledge has developed over time;
  2. Will learn to critique certain accepted political and social theories and learn how to question dominant ideas and assumptions;
  3. Will develop their oral and written skills in order to analyse theoretical material.


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