Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Streams in Politics

“Politics” means different things to different people. 

Politics is a broad umbrella for a range of different areas of study and research. The Politics Programme is home to experts in a number of those areas, allowing students to choose from a rich variety of papers and specialise in an aspect of Politics of most interest to them. 

Students are welcome to discuss their options with the co-ordinator of each stream.

2023 timetable of papers offered

Political Theory

Political Theory deals with the BIG ISSUES: what is a good and just society? What is power? Is freedom always a good thing?

If you want to learn how to engage in thoughtful arguments about politics in its broadest sense, Political Theory is for you.

Co-ordinator

Dr David Jenkins
Email david.jenkins@otago.ac.nz

Papers

  • POLS 101 Political Philosophy - Basic Problems
  • POLS 202 Theories of Justice
    This paper can also be taken as part of the Criminology Minor.
  • POLS 243 Political Ideologies
  • POLS 301 Power and Liberty
  • POLS 307 Nature, Conflict, and the State
  • POLS 312 Ethics and International Relations
  • POLS 323 Marxism: Classical and Contemporary
  • POLS 375 Human Rights: From the Cradle to the Grave
  • POLS 501 "The Political": Theory & Practice
  • POLS 402/510 Community, Culture and Rights
    POLS 402 can be taken as part of PHPE, Indigenous Development and Gender Studies Honours without the need to seek special permission.
  • POLS475/512 The Ethics and Politics of Resistance

New Zealand Politics/Policy Studies

The politics and policies of government shape our lives in various ways. To understand how and why this is so, you need to do more than read a few electronic news sources – you need to study central aspects of New Zealand Politics.

Accordingly this stream helps you to learn more about New Zealand’s governmental institutions and policy-making, elections and political parties, political culture, role of the media, political economy, neoliberalism, class, gender and ethnicity, Māori politics, environmental issues, political inequality, and New Zealand’s foreign policy.

Co-ordinator

Professor Janine Hayward
Email janine.hayward@otago.ac.nz

Papers

  • POLS 102 New Zealand Politics – Introduction
  • POLS 207 Environmental Politics
  • POLS 213 New Zealand Foreign Policy
  • POLS 221 New Zealand Political Parties and Elections
  • POLS 230 Special Topic: Settler State Politics in Aotearoa and Australia
  • POLS 303 New Zealand’s Political Economy
  • POLS 306 Politics and the Media in New Zealand
  • POLS 319 Treaty Politics
  • POLS 321 Public Policy in New Zealand
  • POLS 330 Politics of Climate Change
  • POLS 520 New Zealand Government and Politics
  • POLS 521 Politics and Society

International Relations

International Relations (IR) focuses on understanding and explaining the relations between states, issues of war and peace, the possibilities for international cooperation, the causes of inequality, and how the international system evolved and developed.

Co-ordinator

Associate Professor Nicholas Khoo
Email nicholas.khoo@otago.ac.nz

Papers

  • POLS 104 International Relations – Introduction
  • POLS 211 Global Political Economy
  • POLS 213 New Zealand Foreign Policy
  • POLS 216 Politics of the European Union
  • POLS 217 War and Politics
  • POLS 218 Interventions, Peacekeeping and the Global South
  • POLS 228 Contemporary Issues in International Relations
  • POLS 234 Asian Security
    POLS 234 may be taken as part of the Asian Studies degree.
  • POLS 250 International Security in a Globalising World
  • POLS 308 United States Foreign Policy since 1945
  • POLS 312 Ethics and International Relations
  • POLS 318 Chinese Foreign Policy
  • POLS 325 International Relations: Concepts and Theories
  • POLS 326 Politics of the Arabian Peninsula
  • POLS 540 International Relations Theory
  • POLS 541 International Relations and the Global South
  • POLS 553 The Global Politics of Poverty and Inequality

Comparative Politics / Area Studies

Comparative Politics tries to identify similarities and differences between governmental and political systems, in order to answer questions such as: are some systems more effective than others? how do people participate in politics? does culture affect politics?

Area studies addresses such questions by focusing on particular parts of the world, such as the Middle East or Europe.

Co-ordinator

Associate Professor James Headley
Email james.headley@otago.ac.nz

Papers

  • POLS 105 Comparative Politics – Introduction
  • POLS 208 Democracy
  • POLS 210 Politics of the Middle East
  • POLS 216 Politics of the European Union
  • POLS 230 Special Topic: Settler State Politics in Aotearoa and Australia
  • POLS 315 Nationalism and Identity
  • POLS 326 Politics of the Arabian Peninsula
  • POLS 330 Politics of Climate Change
  • POLS 550 Comparative Regional Conflicts