Faculty of Arts

PHIL 205

Community, Society and Rights


This course covers a range of topics including: cultural claims, the relevance of ethnicity and culture to group rights, problems accommodating cultural claims in a multicultural society, the theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke as to the existence of a "state of nature" and the emergence of the political state, as well as the concept of sovereignty, social contracts and political amalgamations between sovereign units. There will be detailed discussion of the Treaty of Waitangi.

 Course outcomes:

A student who successfully completes this course will have the opportunity to:

  • Acquire knowledge of the political theories of Hobbes and Locke
  • Consider the applicability of these theories to the Treaty of Waitangi
  • Consider the understandings of the Treaty of Waitangi that the Māori of the time may have had
  • Acquire knowledge relevant to problems associated with cultural claims
  • Learn how to apply this knowledge to current problems
  • Enhance capabilities in scholarly analysis, interpretation of evidence and presentation of reasoned arguments
  • Acquire skills in report writing, critical thinking, academic literacy and oral presentation

View the course syllabus

Availability 2019

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Professor Gillian Brock

Recommended Reading

Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: a Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). This book is available for purchase in the university bookstore. Copies are also available in the library.


Coursework + exam


PHIL 205: 15.0 points


30 points in Global Politics and Human Rights, Philosophy or Political Studies or Politics and International Relations

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