POLS102-21SU2 (D) Summer Nov 2021 start (Distance)

Politics: An Introduction

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 November 2021
End Date: Sunday, 19 December 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 21 November 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 3 December 2021


This course introduces the basic tools and techniques used in political science, including essay writing, methods of analysis, and formulation of hypotheses. It also introduces students to a selection of key theories and frameworks. It covers topics such as democracy, authoritarianism, people’s power, civil society, conflict, globalisation, and the future of our world. This course will be of great benefit to Political Science majors of all levels and to students who desire a broad-based introduction to the field.

This course is designed to introduce the concepts, techniques, and topics of Political Science. It is also a course full of questions. We begin by discussing basic concepts of politics. Is politics a science? an art? madness? something else? We then turn to some more basic and more difficult questions. Who are we? Here we will explore the nature of identity and its relationship to politics. Nation, religion, and ethnicity are all sources of identity powerful enough to cause tremendous destruction in our world, and will all be considered. How are we governed? Since politics and politicians have a major impact on our daily lives, we will explore how political systems work. How does democracy come about? Over the last few decades, thousands of people like you and I have battled armed soldiers in the streets in order to win the right to participate in a democratic system. We will try to understand the reasons they care so passionately. Finally, we ask the most intriguing questions of all: Where do we go from here? Is globalization our future? Does the future hold peace and prosperity? Or war and chaos?

Learning Outcomes

Students enrolled in this course will learn the scope and basic methods of Political Science and its subfields.  They will learn some key concepts used in Political Science, and learn to apply those concepts in a variety of contexts.  They will learn how to use library and internet resources useful for research in the social sciences.  They will learn to write research papers appropriate to the field of Political Science.  The research skills and techniques for analysis will transfer to a wide range of future careers.  By studying the nature of identity, students will learn more about their own place in bicultural and multicultural settings.

Timetable Note

POLS102 is run entirely by distance and students may listen to the lectures at any time of their choosing, with optional live online tutorials to be arranged.

Course Coordinator

James Ockey


Naimah Talib

The course co-ordinators are Professor James Ockey and Dr Naimah Talib

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Heywood, Andrew; Politics ; Fifth edition; Red Globe Press, 2019.

All tutorial readings will be available through Learn.

The textbook is recommended to supplement your learning, but not required.  Andrew Heywood, Politics 5th ed., Red Globe Press, 2019, available in the bookstore is the preferred supplemental text.  The e-book is available through Macmillian.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $785.00

International fee $3,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All POLS102 Occurrences