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AZA2719: Theoretical perspectives in political and social thought

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate – Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal datesfor the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.




Dr Tinashe Pfigu


South Africa

  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.


AZA3719, ATS2719, ATS3719


The unit introduces students to political key thinkers and analyses themes in classical and contemporary political and social theory. The contrasting perspectives of the classical thinkers and contemporary theorists are critically analysed and evaluated. Students examine theoretical issues such as structure, power, culture action and modernity. African specific examples are used comparatively to analyse whether African environments offer other ways of conceptualising political and social reality.


Students who study the unit will:

  1. Develop an understanding of several political and social theories (classical and contemporary), learn to appreciate alternative and differing approaches to analysing social relations;
  2. Gain an understanding of how political and sociological knowledge has developed over time;
  3. Learn to critique certain accepted political and social theories and learn how to question dominant ideas and assumptions;
  4. Engage in comparison in order to stimulate and engrain the two above mentioned outcomes;
  5. Develop their oral and written skills in order to analyse theoretical material.


Within semester assessment: 55% + Exam: 45%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Tinashe Pfigu

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Criminology and criminal justice – South Africa
Philosophy and ethics – South Africa
Political studies – South Africa
Sociology – South Africa

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