Language and politics

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School of Social Sciences and International Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Arts 2844
Language and Politics

Semester 1, 2011

Table of Contents

1.Staff Contact……………………………………………………….. ……..p. 3

2. Course Details………………………………………………………….,pp.3-4

3. Rationale of Course……………………………………………………….. p.4

4. Teaching Strategies………………………………………………………..p.45.Course Schedule…………………………………………………………… pp.4-8

6. Resources for Students…………………………………………………………………..pp.8-9
7. Assessment………………………………………………………………pp. 9-10
8. Assessment Details…………………………………………………………………….pp.10-15

9.Submission of Assignments………………………………………………pp.15-16

10.Duties of Teachers……………………………………………………… p16.

11. Course Policies…………………………………………………………pp.16-18

1.TeachingStaff: Contact Details

Professor Gavin Kitching, Room MB 143, 1st Floor, Morven Brown Building.

Email: g.kitching@unsw.edu.au

Tel: 9385 3624

2.Course Details

Arts 2844 is an upper level 6 point credit course in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Course Summary
Language and politics are closely related. This is true in the obvious sense that language use is central to thepractice of politics – to all political debate and persuasion, and to the construction of arguments that we call ‘political’. But it is also true in the less obvious sense that philosophical debates about the nature of language have played an important role in the study of politics. People who believe that the study of politics can and should be ‘scientific’, have frequently tried to find, orcreate, an ‘analytical’ language about politics that is free from the ‘bias’, ‘prejudice’ and conflictual ‘ideology’ of the language used in politics. And people who are more skeptical about the possibility of creating a political science (or a social science more generally) have often doubted whether such a ‘scientific’ language of politics, or of society, can be created.

This course is about boththese subjects. Its first part is concerned with the philosophical issue of whether a ‘scientific’ language of politics can be created, (and if not, why not). Its second part looks at several different uses of language that we call ‘political’.

Aims of the Course

(1) To enable students to grasp the extent how our understanding of language impacts on our understanding of politics as anactivity, and in particular on the aspiration to study politics ‘scientifically’.

(2) To explore some major linguistic dimensions of the actual conduct of politics by politicians and others.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students should:

1. understand some important modern developments in the philosophy of language and their relevance to politics.
2. Be able toapply such philosophical insights to one or more political uses of language.
3. Understand the complex relationship between the practice and the study of politics.

Graduate Attributes
1. the capacity for analytical thinking and problem-solving
2. the ability to engage in independent and reflective learning
3. the research skills to appropriately locate, evaluate and use relevantinformation
4. the capacity to grasp and analyse complex philosophical arguments
5. a deeper understanding of political science and social science more generally.

3. Rationale of Course
The idea of this course is to explore:
(a) the way in which approaches to the study of politics are affected by conceptions of language and
(b) the different ways in which language is used in the actualconduct of politics.
Therefore the course is divided into two main parts, devoted to each of these topics in turn.
The first part of the course in particular, focused on the philosophy of language, will be quite intellectually demanding, but the readings for this part have been carefully chosen for their accessibility. In addition, the central objective of my lectures, and of the tutorial...
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