Power and Subjectivity

Course code PHIL3851Units 10Level 3000Faculty of Education and ArtsSchool of Humanities and Social Science

The concept of power is central to social and political theory, but raises many questions: what constitutes power and how should it be defined? What kind of agents exercise power? Is the power of one agent necessarily antagonistic to another? Is power essentially repressive in its effects? Is power necessarily external and opposed to the freedom of individuals, or is it possible to understand human subjectivity itself in terms of power? This course will examine a range of answers to these and other questions, drawn from a number of sources, with particular emphasis on the work of Foucault.

Not available in 2015

ObjectivesUpon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate
(1) knowledge and familiarity with the main issues addressed and approaches taken with respect to the notion of power.
(2) skills in reading philosophical texts and critically analysing issues.
(3) critical skills to appreciate and engage in contemporary debates over power.
(4) critical skills in analysing and presenting philosophical issues as they emerge in contemporary debates.
Content(1)Presentation of subjectivist notions of power
(2)Presentation of Marxist conceptions of power
(3)Presentation of structuralist notions of power
(4)Presentation of Foucault's conception of power
(5)Presentation of critical debates concerning Foucault's account and its implications for ethics and socio-political critique.
Replacing Course(s)PHIL3850 Power and Subjectivity
TransitionStudents who have successfully completed PHIL3850 Power and Subjectivity cannot enrol in PHIL3851.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed Knowledge20 units PHIL courses with at least 10 units at 2000 level
Modes of DeliveryFlexible Delivery / Student Centred Learning
Internal Mode
Teaching MethodsSeminar
Assessment Items
Essays / Written AssignmentsTwo essays of 2-2,500 words each (each worth 50%) These assignments will require the student to explain the central concepts, principles and arguments of the material studied, guided by the assigned readings and seminar discussion. The latter providesinformal assessment and feedback on individual student ability to properly engage the course matter.
Contact HoursSeminar: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term