Introduction to Politics

Dublin City University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Introduction to Politics

  • Host University

    Dublin City University

  • Location

    Dublin, Ireland

  • Area of Study

    Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    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