Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Anne McNevin


Previously coded PLT3940


How does power operate in world politics? What is the relationship between power and injustice? Is it possible to create a just global order? This unit explores contending approaches to power and justice in IR. Students will examine how different theoretical traditions lead to different possibilities for action on key issues of global justice such as poverty and inequality, governance and representation, peace and security. Beyond Realist accounts of power, students will be introduced to critical theories of structural power, hegemonic power and knowledge-power and explore the role of cosmopolitanism, emancipation, critique, care and post-colonial thought in alternative visions of justice.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. sound knowledge of mainstream and critical theoretical perspectives on power and justice in International Relations.
  2. the ability to apply and compare diverse theoretical perspectives in order to define and analyse problems of global justice.
  3. an understanding of the different possibilities for action that are enabled by contending theoretical perspectives in International Relations.
  4. the ability to communicate complex ideas in a manner (written and spoken) appropriate to an academic and general audience.
  5. independent research skills appropriate for the capstone level.


Written exercise (1500 words): 20%
Research essay (2500 words): 50%
Group presentation: 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

One 2-hour seminar per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Two first-year gateway units and two second-year cornerstone units from the International Relations major.