VCE Global Politics unit 1 & 2
Unit 1: The National Citizen
Why do people seek political power? In this unit, students will consider key concepts related to power and influence, types of power, political ideology and values, political involvement and active citizenship. They will understand what it means to be an active citizen, and the responsibilities of a citizen of a democratic society. The nature of, and philosophical ideas behind, democracy will be studied.
Students will examine the reasons people seek power, the characteristics of successful political activists and leaders, and the political ideas that motivate them. They will consider the ways power is used, and how that power is challenged and resisted by others.
While this unit focuses on twenty-first century and current events, VCE politics also draws on examples and illustrations from history to develop a contextual understanding of the topics covered.
Area of Study 1:
Power, politics, and democracy
What is politics? In what ways do individuals and groups gain and exercise political power? What are the most significant features of the way politics is practised in Australia? What opportunities exist for younger Australians to participate in the Australian political system?
This area of study focuses on the nature and purpose of politics in Australia. Students are introduced to politics in its broad sense as the exercise of power as defined by the ability to make decisions and exert influence over individuals and groups. Students explore political power in both formal and non-formal contexts – that is, operating outside the structures and institutions of government and law making. Consideration is given to the main types of political power, and the range of ways in which power can be exercised. In a democratic political system, political power is exercised by citizens or members of the society. Students analyse the philosophical ideals underpinning democracy within the context of contemporary Australian politics. They examine the concepts of representative and liberal democracy and the ways in which these models support democratic ideals.
Through analysing contemporary issues and events, students consider the Australian system of government and politics, and how political power is gained, exercised, and challenged in Australia. They also explore the ways in which young people can become more actively involved in Australian politics.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and analyse the nature and purpose of politics and power in a broad sense and in the context of contemporary Australian democracy.
Area of Study 2:
Exercising and challenging power
Why do individuals get involved in politics? Do political leaders have similar characteristics and share similar aims? What are the major political ideologies? What are the ideas and aims of the most significant political movements in Australia?
In this area of study students consider how and why people, both as individual citizens and in groups, become involved in politics. Students examine the motivations for political involvement and active citizenship. They analyse the factors that drive individuals to seek political power and influence, and the characteristics of political activists, politicians and leaders. These individuals may operate within formal political structures such as political parties or parliaments, or in non-formal structures such as interest groups, the media, music and entertainment industries.
Political involvement is motivated by a range of aims, ideas and values. Students are introduced to a range of political ideologies and values which often underpin political involvement, including conservatism, liberalism, social democracy, socialism and fundamentalism.
Social and political movements form an important focus of study in this area of study; for example, the environmental movement provides the means for many people to express and act upon their concerns about the natural environment.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to explain why people seek political power, and the major political ideologies that influence political involvement and political movements.
Unit 2: The Global Citizen
This unit focuses on the contemporary international community. Students examine their place within this community through considering the debate over the existence of the ‘global citizen’. In Area of Study 1 they explore the myriad ways their lives have been affected by the increased interconnectedness – the global threads – of the world through the process of globalisation. In Area of Study 2, students consider the extent to which the notion of an international community exists, and investigate its ability to manage areas of global cooperation and respond to issues of global conflict and instability.
This unit is concerned with contemporary issues and events. While these may have antecedents in issues and events before the twenty-first century that students need to understand to contextualise contemporary global situations, focus will be on examples and case studies from the twenty-first century.
Area of Study 1:
How do citizens in the twenty-first century interact? How have our lives been affected by globalisation? Do citizens have global responsibilities? Does the global citizen really exist? In this area of study students consider how citizens in the twenty-first century interact and connect with the world. Almost every facet of human life in the western world has been transformed by recent and rapid technological changes. As a result, increased global interconnectedness has transformed lives and created global threads, and in so doing, raised the debate over whether or not citizens’ responsibilities exist beyond national borders have been transformed by Facebook, Twitter and Skype, and the growth in aviation. Economic threads have changed the way in which commerce, trade and investment occur as seen through the rise of e-buy and online shopping, and have facilitated the growing impact and power of transnational corporations (TNCs) in shaping global trading patterns and political agendas, as seen through the global reach of corporations such as BHP Billiton, Toyota and BAE Systems. Students examine the impact of these global threads on human rights, culture and the global environment. They assess these impacts through examining the notion of a common humanity, in which there are shared responsibilities and rights that transcend national boundaries.
Students investigate the work and role of international organisations, such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace and Avaaz, in the context of the debate over whether or not citizens have civic, social and political global responsibilities as ‘global citizens’.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to identify the ways in which the lives of citizens in the twenty-first century are interconnected globally.
Area of Study 2:
Global cooperation and conflict
What do we understand by the term ‘international community’? How does this community work in the twenty-first century and what are its responsibilities? How effective is the international community in managing cooperation, conflict and instability? What challenges do key global actors such as the United Nations and NGOs, face in resolving issues such as war, conflict, environmental challenges and people movement?
In this area of study students investigate and reflect on the concept of an ‘international community’. This term suggests a common humanity and a shared vision of goals, beyond cultural, social, political and ethnic divides, through which global actors work to achieve common aims. The international community is composed of citizens, their states, international organisations, NGOs and TNCs. Students question the extent to which this notion of an international community is cohesive, and whether it can effectively manage cooperation, conflict and instability.
To develop knowledge and understanding of the effectiveness of the international community students investigate at least TWO examples of contemporary global cooperation and at least TWO examples of contemporary global conflict. Case studies of contemporary international cooperation include: the environment such as the Cancun Agreement, Copenhagen Accord and the Kyoto Protocol, animal welfare, efforts to counter rainforest destruction, action on natural and human-made disasters; health as seen through the role of the World Health Organization, the fight against HIV/AIDS and positive responses to pandemics; refugees and asylum seekers such as the role of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and other approaches to managing people movement; disarmament such as the ban on landmines and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; human rights such as the rights of the child, issues of child labour, ‘blood minerals’, aid for natural and human-made disasters. Case studies of contemporary global conflict and instability include war such as the wars in Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq; genocide such as the crisis in Darfur; the separatist movement in Tibet; terrorism such as al-Qaeda, ETA, Lashka-e-Toiba; border disputes such as Palestine–Israel, Kashmir, Kurdistan and the Balkans; organised crime such as drug cartels.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and analyse the extent to which the international community is cohesive, and whether it can effectively manage cooperation, conflict and instability in relation to selected case studies
The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on a decision that the student has demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit. This decision will be based on the teacher’s assessment of the student’s overall performance on assessment tasks designated for the unit. The key knowledge and key skills listed for each outcome are used as a guide to course design and the development of learning activities. The key knowledge and key skills do not constitute a checklist and such an approach is not necessary or desirable for determining the achievement of outcomes. The elements of key knowledge and key skills should not be assessed separately. Assessment tasks are part of the regular teaching and learning program, mainly in class and within a limited timeframe..