pol3lac justice freedom and difference



Not currently offered

Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject provides an issues-based examination of the key ideas in contemporary political theory. After exploring the values of freedom and equality which are central to liberal thought, we then consider powerful challenges to liberalism from a wide range of theoretical perspectives. This allows us to broach topics such as the justification of taxation, multiculturalism, equality of opportunity, the division of labour in the family, hate speech, civil disobedience, and global justice. Our reflections are framed by the more general question of the role and function of political theory with respect to the problems of our modern world.

SchoolSchool of Humanities & Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorMiriam Bankovsky

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites 15 credit points of any first year Politics subject and 15 credit points of any Humanities and Social Sciences subject, or subject coordinator's approval


Incompatible subjects POL2LAC

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsSubject reader POL2/3LACPrescribedN/AN/A
ReadingsContemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction.RecommendedKymlicka, W.2ND ED., OXFORD UP, 2001
ReadingsPolitical Philosophy: A Beginner's Guide for Students and PoliticiansRecommendedSwift, A.2ND ED., POLITY, 2006

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of liberalism in its relationship to a variety of critics.

Exam; in-class concept testing

02. Produce a well-reasoned group report on the main themes characteristic of contemporary liberalism.

Group report; tutorial exercise on preparing summaries of theoretical texts

03. Write a critical research essay that demonstrates an advanced knowledge of contemporary liberal theory and a number of its central critics.

Essay; tutorial exercise on essay plans

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