POLIS 1103 - Justice, Liberty, Democracy: Debates & Directions

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

Do you want to better understand what is at stake when people debate the question of what is a good society? Do you want to have a deeper knowledge of why people disagree about how society should be organised? A number of key concepts within socio-political thinking are very widely employed not only in the work of a range of scholars and other analysts but by media commentators, politicians and public policymakers. Such concepts are crucial to understanding what is going on in public debates on notions as varied as human nature, power, individual freedom, national identity, censorship, human rights, equality, social justice and group marginalisation, community, citizenship, work/life dilemmas, colonialism, civil liberties and social protest, amongst many others. However, even though these concepts underlie important public debates, they are often poorly understood. This course will analyse the theoretical underpinnings of a liberal-democratic society such as Australia, seeking to develop an understanding of key concepts, both in themselves and in their relation to each other. The aim of this course is to enable students to better understand the basis of public debates, and hence be able to reflect upon their own views, by gaining a grounding in the major terms employed in socio-political thought today.

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