BASS Politics and Criminology

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Ideals of Social Justice

Unit code POLI20881
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


An overview of the course:

Egalitarian Liberalism


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Introduction to Political Theory POLI10702 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
POLI20881 Pre-req


What should a just society look like? What are the fairest rules for a system of social cooperation, and how do we come to determine them? Is there a tension between the value of equality and the value of freedom? And if so, what is the correct balance between the two? Should people’s wellbeing and economic holdings mirror their responsible choices? Are people entitled to the advantages generated by their innate talents? What is the role of property rights within a theory of distributive justice?  Is a just society simply one that the respects individual rights and fair distributive shares, or should it also constitute a “community” in a richer sense?

This course explores these fundamental moral and political questions through the lenses of contemporary political theory. 

Learning outcomes

By using a conceptual approach to understand issues in political philosophy, students will examine the place of such values as liberty and equality in defining the differences between contemporary theories of justice.

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly lectures
Fortnightly seminars

Assessment methods

Exam 60%
Essay (2,100 words) 30%
Participation 10%

Feedback methods

Politics staff will provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission via Blackboard (if submitted through Turnitin).

Students should be aware that all marks are provisional until confirmed by the external examiner and the final examinations boards in June.

For modules that do not have examination components the marks and feedback for the final assessed component are not subject to the 15 working day rule and will be released with the examination results. This applies to Semester 2 modules only. Semester one modules with no final examination will have their feedback available within the 15 working days.

You will receive feedback on assessed essays in a standard format. This will rate your essay in terms of various aspects of the argument that you have presented your use of sources and the quality of the style and presentation of the essay. If you have any queries about the feedback that you have received you should make an appointment to see your tutor. Tutors and Course Convenors also have a dedicated office hour when you can meet with her/him to discuss course unit specific problems and questions.

On assessments submitted through Turnitin you will receive feedback via Blackboard. This will include suggestions about ways in which you could improve your work in future. You will also receive feedback on non-assessed coursework, whether this is individual or group work. This may be of a more informal kind and may include feedback from peers as well as academic staff

Recommended reading

C Farrelly
An Introduction to Contemporary Political Theory (Sage, 2004)

R Goodin & P Pettit
Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology (Blackwell, 1997)

W Kymlicka
Contemporary Political Philosophy (Clarendon Press, 1990)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stephen Hood Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Length of course: 12 weeks

Pre-requisites: POLI10702


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