Power, politics and policy - SRAP5018

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

School: School of Social Sciences

Course Outline: School of Social Sciences

Campus: Sydney

Career: Postgraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2

Enrolment Requirements:

Prerequisite: Enrolment in the Master of Dev. Studies, Master of Policy Studies, Master of IR, Master of Arts (IR), Master of Public Policy & Governance, Graduate Diploma in Dev. Studies (Int. Studies) or Grad Cert in Arts (IR)

CSS Contribution Charge:   (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

View course information for previous years.


This course asks you to engage with the central question “What is the role of the state in people’s lives?” It considers the politics of public policy: that is, the powers, players, interests and approaches that shape policy making, implementation, and evaluation.

We begin from the understanding that policy-making is political in nature because the distribution of power among and between the groups and individuals involved is unequal. Therefore, as we study policy making as a political process we highlight the fact that making policy involves conflict and cooperation; struggles for power, influence and authority; and includes groups and individuals both inside and outside government.

The course will examine both the problems and methods of decision-making in the modern state from the perspective of a range of differently situated ‘policy workers’. We will explore a range of ideological, analytical and theoretical approaches to public policy along with problems of participation and implementation. Fundamentally, the course is concerned with the power of the state and the exercise of that power in people’s lives through the creation and implementation of public policy.
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