Stage 2 | Subject outline | Version control

Politics, Power, and People Stage 2
Subject outline

Version 2.0
For teaching in 2022. Accredited in May 2020 for teaching at Stage 2 from 2021.  See subject changes for 2022.

Stage 2 | Subject outline | Subject description

Subject description

Politics, Power, and People is a 20‑credit subject at Stage 2.

Politics, Power, and People is the study of how power is distributed and exercised at all levels of society. The subject explores ideas related to cooperation, conflict, crises, and the political intricacies of a particular government. Students develop an understanding of expressions of power and politics, and the effect of these on individuals, families, schools, workplaces, communities, governments, and institutions in law, media, and the commercial world. Through an inquiry approach, students challenge their existing political understanding and move from ‘right or wrong’ thinking towards appreciating nuances that are ‘grey’. They explore abstract ideas, then put their learning into action as they move to understand the various themes related to politics, power, and people at local, state, national, and international levels.

Students develop a broad understanding of political events and their impact through the integration of historical, legal, cultural, philosophical, geographical, and economic perspectives. Insights into these factors allow students to develop an understanding of how power is constructed in different contexts.

Students explore the themes by collaboratively critiquing political ideas and transferring their learning to other situations and cultural contexts. Case studies are integrated into the learning to provide students with the opportunity to construct knowledge and connect the contextual understanding of political structures with political theories. Students apply their understanding of elements of the Australian political system in a global context. They learn to understand why conflicts occur and the mechanisms used to negotiate and resolve these. Through the study of Politics, Power, and People, students begin to appreciate the complexity and diversity of approaches to solving global challenges related to human rights, equality, welfare, poverty, and the distribution of resources.

Students develop skills in written and oral communication, critical and creative thinking, analysis, and the ability to conduct ethical, reliable, and valid research. When equipped with these skills, students are empowered to become active citizens, voters, and participants in local, national, and international communities. They also understand how different systems of government offer varied opportunities for participation, and make informed decisions about the right to dissent and the limits of tolerance in relation to social justice, morals, and ethics.

The investigations allow students to carry out in-depth research on the theme of their choice or an area of interest. They are encouraged to use a range of investigative methods (e.g. quantitative, qualitative, or mixed), using primary and/or secondary data. Students develop critical analysis skills and convey ideas in coherent forms of communication, using political terms to articulate their understandings and justify their political reasoning.

At Stage 2, students develop their understanding of Politics, Power, and People through a compulsory theme — Making meaning from democracy: exploring Australian politics — and through two themes that are selected from the option theme section.

Students consider aspects of the democratic system — such as the historical limits of citizenship, and contemporary concerns about globalisation — from perspectives including those of the nation-state and of various media platforms.