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POLS243 Political Ideologies

A comprehensive exploration of the meaning and function of ideology, and a survey of the political ideologies that have shaped and continue to shape our world, including liberalism, socialism, anarchism, populism and conservatism.

Even as political ideologies are common features of political discourse and practice they are often used unreflectively and as a general term of abuse. This paper will critically explore the ways in which ideologies operate, evolve and organize political life. It will offer a survey of the dynamics and contours at work within specific ideologies. This will include more mainstream ideologies, such as those of liberalism, nationalism and conservatism; those that have been gaining increasing prominence in contemporary politics, such as populism, feminism and ecologism, and those which have had important – and potentially recurring – historical importance, such as fascism, communism and anarchism. Finally, it will reflect on the status of ideologies as persistent aspects of politics, asking whether ideologies are the kind of thing politics can, or even hope to, transcend.

Paper title Political Ideologies
Paper code POLS243
Subject Politics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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One 100-level POLS paper or 72 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff

Dr David Jenkins


(provisional) Andrew Vincent, 2009, Modern Political Ideologies. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Scholarship, Critical thinking, Communication, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

This paper will help students:

  • Explain and assess the role of political ideas and ideologies in contemporary political life.
  • Understand the histories and development of the major political ideologies.
  • Critically analyze and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these ideologies.
  • Make and defend effective arguments in political theory.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 11-14, 16-22
Tuesday 11:00-11:50 11-14, 16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 11-14, 16, 18-21
A2 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 11-14, 16, 18-21
A3 Monday 13:00-13:50 11-14, 18-21