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Politics Summer School papers

The University of Otago Summer School runs from early January to late February each year and the Department of Politics offers two papers each year. 

Politics papers offered during 2018 Otago Summer School:

  • POLS301 Power and Liberty - An introduction to the complex and contested nature of the concept of power, and the different ways in which power shapes and constrains human liberty. A variety of theories and theorists will be considered, drawing from the ancient, modern, and contemporary periods in the history of ideas. This paper examines the contested nature of the concepts of liberty and power and the different ways that power shapes and constrains our liberty. Are we freer the less we are constrained by the power of the state? Or does freedom involve more than being left alone to do whatever we wish? Can laws be a source of liberation? Is the will to power a cause for celebration or the curse of modern existence? Is modern surveillance empowering, or is it the latest method forcing us to conform? In exploring these questions we draw on a variety of thinkers in the history of modern political thought from Machiavelli to Foucault.

  • POLS303 New Zealand's Political Economy - Historical overview of New Zealand politics; inequalities; key actors including trade unions, business associations. Treasury and political parties, major areas of public policy. In this paper we will first examine three schools of thought drawn from classical political economy. We begin with liberalism and then move on to the idea of mercantilism. Finally, we explore the ideas of Marxism and imperialism. We then briefly review the history of New Zealand's political economy from 1935-2016. We will particularly focus on the John Key/Bill English governments since 2008 and issues that have arisen during this period, such as welfare reform, free trade, taxation, poverty/inequality, privatisation and climate change.

Visit the Otago Summer School website