Political Science (POLI) 307

Political Ideologies (Revision 4)

POLI 307

Revision 4 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or grouped study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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POLI 307 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Political Science 307 presents a broad survey of the major political ideologies of modern times, situated within the context of their historical development. The course first examines the ideologies of capitalism, liberalism, and democracy followed by anti-liberal and anti-capitalist ideologies—conservatism, anarchism, utopianism, scientific Marxism, and nationalism.

The age of mass twentieth-century ideologies of contemporary liberal democracy, social democracy, Marxist-Leninism, and fascism and national socialism are then examined along with major ideologies and discourses from the Third World.

Finally, the course considers contemporary ideological currents, the search for community, post-materialism, post-modernism, and the new social movements—feminism and environmentalism.

In the study of a subject as contentious and complex as political ideologies, it is expected that students will disagree with some of the information presented. However, this course offers an intelligible examination of a highly charged subject that will stimulate students to conduct further research into the matters examined.

Course Objectives

When you have completed Political Science 307: Political Ideologies, you should be able to achieve the following course objectives:

  1. Explain the difficulty of engaging in ideological evaluation.
  2. Identify and discuss the functions of ideologies, and examine the ideologies covered in the course in respect of these functions.
  3. Describe the origins and development of modern (and now, post–modern) political ideologies in their historical, cultural, and socio–economic contexts.
  4. Compare and interrelate the major tenets of our current political belief systems, as they have evolved in time and place.
  5. Analyse the premises and internal logic of past and contemporary ideologies.
  6. Be aware of contemporary ideological developments in both Western and non-Western society.
  7. “Argue” with and otherwise relate to, through readings from primary sources, the principal ideologists of the past three hundred years, and, in the process, gain an awareness of the terms and tenets of ideological discourse.


Unit 1: Introduction

  • Lesson 1: Analysing and Understanding Ideologies
  • Lesson 2: The Emergence of “Modern” Ideologies

Unit 2: Ideologies of Capitalism and Industrialism: The Long Nineteenth Century

  • Lesson 3: Liberalism, Capitalism, Democracy
  • Lesson 4: Anti–Liberal Ideologies: Early Forms of Conservatism
  • Lesson 5: Anti–Capitalist Ideologies: Utopian Socialism, Anarchism, and Scientific Socialism (Marxism)
  • Lesson 6: Nationalism: A Component of All Modern Ideologies

Unit 3: The Age of Mass Ideologies: The “Short” Twentieth Century

  • Lesson 7: Contemporary Liberal Democracy
  • Lesson 8: Socialism I: Social Democracy and Democratic Socialism
  • Lesson 9: Socialism II: Orthodox Marxism–Leninism
  • Lesson 10: Fascism and National Socialism
  • Lesson 11: The Third World: The Indigenous Voice

Unit 4: Ideological Currents in Our Time

  • Lesson 12: The Search for Community: Communitarianism, Socialist Renewal, Anarchism Revisited, Constitutional Libertarianism, Exclusive Nationalisms
  • Lesson 13: Liberation Ideologies, Post–Materialism, Post–Modernism, New Social Movements, Environmentalism, Feminism, and Neoprogressivism: The Leftist Purification Movement


To receive credit for POLI 307, you must obtain a grade of at least "D" (50 percent) on the final exam, and acheive a composite course grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The chart below summarizes the course activities and the credit weight associated with each requirement.

Assignment 1: Oral Quiz Assignment 2: Take Home Assignment Assignment 3: Research Essay Final Exam Total
10% 30% 30% 30% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator or at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure a computer with an Internet connection and an accepted web browser is available for your use at the invigilation centre. For more information on AU's Online Exam Project please visit the Office of the Registrar site.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

POLI 307 is an online course. A Reading File accompanies the course, and it will be sent to you before your course start date.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the POLI 307 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, November 8, 2011

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