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Language & Politics - ARTS2844
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Course Outline: Contact School
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Undergraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: 30 units of credit at Level 1
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 1 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable
Available for General Education: Yes (more info)


This is a shelf course. A shelf course comprises a number of modules related to this broad area of study. Each module is a separate semester of study in this area and is offered in rotation. You can study TWO modules but you cannot study the same module twice.

Subject Area: Politics
This course can also be studied in the following specialisations: Australian Studies; International Relations

This shelf course has two modules.

The first module focuses on propaganda & satire through a study of rhetoric. Therefore, it covers:
  • A brief history of propaganda
  • Study of the art of rhetoric & applicaiton in the following topics.
  • Public relations state
  • Informal reasoning
  • Public diplomacy
  • Propaganda & international conflict
The second module focuses on language & the study of social science & covers such topics as:
  • Wittgenstein
  • Postmodernism
  • Philosophy of science
  • Realism & structuralism
  • Major political concepts such as justice, sovereignty & power
Module: "Propaganda & Satire"
Propaganda and public relations are essential to representative democracy and the modern state, even to military strategies such as the war on terror. Along with satire, they are forms of persuasive argument. Yet they are seen as threats to democracy because of their potential for lies, spin and manipulation. This subject disentangles such issues while exploring rhetoric, public diplomacy, the nature of rationality and truth in argument, the war on terror, the internet and new media. Satire also has a difficult place in theories of democracy, as revealed in the Danish cartoon controversy, and there is a history of satire overlapping with propaganda. Through this subject, students will appreciate the political discipline and learn that the social sciences depend on interpretation and language.

Module: "Language, Politics and Society" (Semester 1, 2011)
This course considers the relationship between language and politics in two ways. It is concerned , firstly with the the conduct of politics as a particular use of language, examining such issues as the meaning of 'justice', 'power', 'sovereignty', 'national interest', 'national security' and so on. Politics, as an activity is carried out in large part through speech and writing, and people often see politics as involving the 'abuse' of language by politicians and other people, so this issue is important. In addition, however, the course will examine the way in which language is used in the academic study of politics, and whether standard ideas about studying society and politics 'objectively' and 'scientifically' are linguistically and philosophically 'naive' in some way. The ideas of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein will be used extensively in both parts of the course.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.