- Code POLS3029
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Political Science
- Areas of interest Policy Studies, Political Sciences, Political Economy
- Academic career UGRD
- AsPr Tracy Fenwick
- Mode of delivery In Person
First Semester 2022
See Future Offerings
The main objective of this course is to understand, in both, theory and practice, the central goals and challenges inherent within a federal system of government. Within federal configurations, power and resources can simultaneously shift downwards (towards local government) and upwards towards the center. Why would the center concede power to subnational units or vice versa? In this course, we will explore the logic of power-sharing and the motives (causes) that drive it from two different theoretical perspectives that are grounded in experience: rational choice (American) and historical institutionalism (European). In the final stages of the course we will begin to look at the impact (consequences) of federalism on democracy and democratic representation, economic stability, and redistribution. By doing so, we will be examining one of the most dynamic research areas at the intersection of political science and economics. We will examine both the normative theories of federalism and how it is applied in practice to countries such as Australia, Canada, and the US, and in emerging federations such as Brazil and Argentina. Australian federalism will be a focus of this course, and will provide students with a unique opportunity to design (reform) the Australian Federation.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- define and explain the concept of federalism, where it originated, and what it was intended to achieve;
- assess whether a given country and society is federal or federation-like, and attempt to theorise whether or not it matters within its context;
- analyse different schools/methods used to investigate federalism and be able to critically asses their value and importance;
- demonstrate an understanding of why federalism matters for public policy outcomes in Australia and beyond; and
- communicate understanding of comparative Federalism through written analysis and/or verbal presentation.
- Comparative Research Paper (3000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,5]
- Policy Memo (1500 words) (30) [LO 3,4,5]
- Workshop Activity (In-class + Written Summary) (20) [LO 3,5]
- Workshop Participation (10) [LO 5]
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and, b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsOrdeshook, Peter, Filippov, Michael and Olga Shetsova. 2004. Designing Federalism: A Theory of Self-Sustainable Federal Institutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Watts, Ronald L. 2008. Comparing Federal Systems. (3rd Edition), Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press.
Preliminary ReadingBednar, Jenna. 2009. The Robust Federation: Principles of Design. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.
Fenwick, Tracy Beck. 2015. Avoiding Governors: Federalism, Democracy, and Poverty Alleviation in Brazil and Argentina. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
Galligan, Brian. 1995. A Federal Republic: Australia’s Constitutional System of Federalism. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
Skogstad, Cameron, Papillion, and Banting (eds.) 2013. The Global Promise of Federalism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Assumed KnowledgeBasic Australian politics
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- 6 units
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