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POLS475 The Ethics and Politics of Resistance

An exploration of the meaning of political authority and obligation, and an assessment of the possible permissions, duties and techniques that exist for people to resist injustice.

This paper uses the tools of normative political theory to explore questions relating to struggles for justice. Topics covered include the meaning of injustice, the grounds of legitimate authority, the limits of obedience, and duties of resistance. The paper also includes analysis of historical accounts of resistance, including indigenous against settler colonialism, the American civil rights movement, European labour movements and Women's Liberation.

Paper title The Ethics and Politics of Resistance
Paper code POLS475
Subject Politics
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,206.91
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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72 300-level points in POLS
POLS 512
The prerequisite for students taking the subject Philosophy, Politics and Economics is 36 300-level POLS points.

Teaching staff

Dr David Jenkins


There are no textbooks for this course. Readings will be based on papers and book chapters.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

By completion of this paper students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with key debates within political theory, especially those pertaining to questions of authority and obligation and justifications for resisting what are perceived as illegitimate authority
  • Produce independent research of a high quality, using combining analysis of complex normative issues with critical assessment of empirical data
  • Demonstrate an ability to engage with others in small discussion settings, with the opportunity to engage in constructive discussions, debates, and scenarios
  • Apply their understanding and knowledge and develop their organizational skills leading part of the weekly seminar

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 13:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41