Political Science (POLI) 307

Political Ideologies (Revision 5)

POLI 307

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

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 surveys the origins and development of modern political ideologies in their historical, cultural, and socio-economic contexts beginning with the origins of liberalism followed by responses to it that include capitalism, conservatism, socialism, Marxism, and nationalism. Comparisons and interrelationships of the major tenets of these political belief systems, as they have evolved in time and place, are considered for the purpose of analyzing the premises and internal logic of past and contemporary ideologies. Discussion of contemporary ideological developments, such as the search for community, post-materialism, postmodernism, and the new social movements—feminism and environmentalism—extends to both Western and non-Western society over the past 300 to 400 years.

As a major component, this course also includes the political ideologies from the “Global South,” an area in which considerable ideological contestation in recent decades elaborates and often challenges received Western beliefs. In particular, considerable attention is paid to the manner in which the people of this region formulate their own political belief systems and to their ways of adapting, critiquing, or transforming standard Western ideologies to their own different contexts.

Students are encouraged to consider connections and interdependencies among the various ideologies presented and to familiarize themselves with the ways in which ideologies develop and change over time.

Learning Outcomes

After completing Political Science 307: Political Ideologies, students should be able to achieve the following course learning outcomes:

  1. Explain several important difficulties in the identification and discussion of ideologies and their functions that emerge through the study and evaluation of these ideologies.
  2. Describe the origins and development of modern political ideologies in their historical, cultural, and socio-economic contexts.
  3. Compare and interrelate major tenets of our current political belief systems as they have evolved in time and place.
  4. Analyze the premises and internal logic of past and contemporary ideologies.
  5. Discuss contemporary ideological developments in both Western and non-Western society.
  6. Demonstrate the breadth, depth, and the integration and synthesis of learning about ideologists and their writings and interpretations through participation in oral and written communications about the ideologies’ merits and drawbacks.


Part 1—Ideas to Ideologies

  • Chapter 1: Analyzing and Understanding Ideologies
  • Chapter 2: The Emergence of “Modern” Ideologies

Part 2—Liberalism in the Long Nineteenth Century

  • Chapter 3: Liberalism, Capitalism, Democracy
  • Chapter 4: Anti-Liberal Ideologies
  • Chapter 5: Anti-Capitalist Ideologies
  • Chapter 6: Nationalism: A Component of All Modern Ideologies

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

  • Chapter 7: Contemporary Liberal Democracy
  • Chapter 8: Two Variants of Socialism
  • Chapter 9: Orthodox Marxism-Leninism
  • Chapter 10: Fascism and National Socialism
  • Chapter 11: Indigenous Voices in the Global South

Part 4—Ideological Currents in Our Time

  • Chapter 12: The Search for Community
  • Chapter 13: The Rise of an Eclectic Left


To receive credit for POLI 307, students must obtain 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.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Participation Posts 10%
Assignment 2: Research Preparation 30%
Assignment 3: Research Essay 30%
Assignment 4: Final Project 30%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials

All materials for the course are available online. These materials include a Student Manual, Course Information, a Course Text, and Required Readings.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.


Challenge Evaluation

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

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 5, June 12, 2017.

View previous syllabus