DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Introduction to Politics
Module Code LG116
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Ross Carroll
Semester 2: Ross Carroll
Autumn: Ross Carroll
Module TeachersDeiric O'Broin
Ross Carroll
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

Welcome to the course. Politics is about power; about who gets it and how they use it, politics is all around us. Despite what many people think about politics, it may be the most complex and important of all social phenomena and the most difficult to theorize about. Those who dismiss politics, in Plato s words, – those who are too smart to engage in politics, are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. Nations go to war or negotiate peace, people revolt or get oppressed, governmental policies lead to prosperity or ruin — there is a lot at stake in politics. This course aims to introduce you to the serious academic study of politics. What is it that interests us in politics? Undoubtedly it is a fascinating game in which political actors play to win some prize, perhaps political office or policy. Politics is also important because it influences public policies that affect our lives directly. Actors (i.e. individuals, groups or institutions or whatever unit of analysis we may consider relevant) often compete and conflict to achieve their desired allocations, but people also co-operate to realize power. Generally, we can see that how these actors react to the different situations depends on certain incentives each faces. While we will concentrate on high politics, I hope to introduce you to ways of understanding the world that will be useful in all walks of life. As the focus of politics is policy outputs, the course follows those factors that influence policy. To a great extent this is determined by the incentives people face. After introducing the study of politics, its scientific study and the main political problems preventing us achieve the Good Life, we can study the main ideologies that influence us today and in the past. We will classify the main political systems in the world, examine the logic of power, of democracy and dictatorship, before looking at factors influencing politics within a country, such as culture, cleavages and economy. We ll then look at the machinery of government and politics within countries.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain political events and phenomena
2. Understand the role and functions of political institutions
3. Apply key concepts and theories of political science to various political contexts
4. Examine major concepts and puzzles that exist in political science

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Tutorial6No Description
Independent Study95No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

1. Introduction: politics and political science

2. Political power and the problems politics seeks to solve

3. Solutions to political problems: the state

4. Ideologies and nationalism

5. Democracy and dictatorship

6. Socio-cultural structure of politics

7. Institutional structure of politics: political institutions and political parties

8. Elections and voting

9. Legislatures and executives

10. Conclusion: does politics matter?

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • W.Phillips Shively: 2007, Power and choice: an introduction to political science, 10th edition, McGraw-Hill, New York,
  • Andrew Heywood: 2002, Politics, 2nd Edition, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke and New York,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
AFUAge Friendly University Programme
BAJIBachelor of Arts (BAJI)
BAJMBachelor of Arts (BAJM)
BAJPBachelor of Arts (BAJP)
BSSCIBA Social Sciences & Cultural Innovation
EPLBA in Economics, Politics and Law
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
IRBA in International Relations
Date of Last Revision25-JAN-12

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement