The Mechanics of Power

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Mechanics of Power

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Political Science, Public Policy Studies

  • 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

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    Elections, politicians, the media, parliament: these are familiar and powerful features of everyday life in modern democracies. But how do they work? By comparing the experience of different countries, this course explores the ways in which institutions shape the choice and strategies of the various political actors.
    Course Introduction
    "Are the police political and does the military have political power? Is the church still the most powerful political institution?" These are some of the issues that will be explored in this foundation course on political institutions. This course not only asks whether these institutions are powerful, but also whether they are in fact legitimate and just. Students of this course will be encouraged to critically assess the validity of institutions that are normally taken for granted in daily life.
    Course Aims
    To provide students with an understanding how political power operates through institutions. This course provides a foundation for studies in politics and public policy, international relations and business by:
    1. Introducing students to a range of political institutions and how they operate and interact;
    2. Helping students develop strong links between theory and practice;
    3. Reinforcing for students the important relationship that exists between the operation of political
    institutions, politics and social outcomes;
    4. Developing students' ability to understand and utilise comparative approaches in political science;
    5. Enhancing students' written and oral communication skills.
    This course compliments 1101GIR Introduction to Politics; 1103GIR Political Ideas and 1001GIR International Relations by providing students with a clear understanding of how politics and government work in practice in a variety of settings. It is useful for anyone interested in politics as well as providing a strong foundation for further studies in government and intenational relations.
    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1 Have a clear understanding of ideas and topics fundamental to the study of political institutions.
    2 Comprehend the link between political concepts and ideas and the operation of political institutions, and apply that comprehension to their analysis of current politics.
    3 Understand and be able to illustrate the link between political institutions, the practice of politics and government and social outcomes.
    4 Utilise comparative approaches to issues in political science.
    5 Demonstrate an enhanced level of written and oral communication skills.

    Assessment Task

    Weighting/Marked out of

    Guided discussion with peers
    Class preparation and contribution


    Assignment - Written Assignment
    Short Essay


    Assignment - Written Assignment
    Major Essay


    Exam - constructed response
    End of Semester Exam


Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.