Power (GOVT3993)


Power is the essential concept of political science, which is the systematic study of politics. Bertrand Russell, perhaps the greatest mind of the 20th Century, said power is the central concept of all the social sciences. Students explore this concept in different parts of political science and survey some debates on power, assessing the advantages and disadvantages of concepts of power. There are three themes in this unit. The first is the distribution of power in society. The second is power in comparative politics and the third is power in international relations. The emphasis is on the nature, sources and use of power.

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Further unit of study information


1x2hr lecture-seminar/week, 1x1hr lecture-seminar/week


1x1000wd Essay (2x15%), 2500wd Essay (50%), Seminar and online participation (20%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


12 Senior credit points from Government and International Relations and GOVT2991, each at the level of Credit or better, or with the consent of the Honours Coordinator.



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.