How Divided Societies Can Reconcile And Ensure Rights Of Citizens In The Aftermath Of Violence


ETHICS AND HUMAN RIGHTS Major Research Essay Overview

This is the second essay and final written assessment for POLS7503 Ethics and Human Rights.

In doing so, it provides an opportunity to explore in greater detail how understandings of ethics and various ethical approaches add to the study and practice of politics, at all levels and in a range of concrete political scenarios.

The major research essay is an argumentative essay. It is therefore analytical in nature. This means that your essay must do more than present factual evidence.

It must identify, advance, and defend – persuading the reader of – a clear argument.

To do this, your essay must integrate knowledge derived from the seminars and required readings as well as independently sourced readings and research that has been conducted specifically for this essay.

In this way, the major research essay encourages POLS7503 scholars to apply knowledges

As with the reflection essay, these questions are starting points: you will still need to narrow down your topic. This will involve developing a precise scope and focus, theoretically and empirically, and in turn identifying and researching independently to ensure you have constructed a persuasive case that explains and defends your central argument.

The major research essay is 3,500 words in length.

Essay Questions. Choose only one option among the five options. 3500 words.

Option One

Ethics and ethical prerogatives are inherent yet often neglected and hidden aspects of policy and politics. Recognising this, how, then, can an explicit focus and appreciation of ethics help to better understand politics? When answering this question, draw on at least two ethical approaches studied in class and also engage how the respective ethical approaches enable a richer understanding of a specific political issue or topic. The political issue or topic you engage can be at any level of politics. It can also permeate all levels, stretching across political dynamics within local, national and international realms.

Option Two

The moral significance of boundaries – between individuals, local communities, states, and even transnational blocs of allied states – poses a range of important, complex questions for realising ethical conduct in world politics. Paradoxically, boundaries can both protect and threaten rights. How can this be the case? Engage the issues at stake by comparing at least two ethical approaches, such as (but not limited to) communitarianism and cosmopolitanism, and how the respective approaches help to understand the provision of rights in a concrete empirical political case. Examples include: minority rights within nation-states, rights of asylum seekers, and the global challenge of climate change. But be creative. Choose a case study and also ethical approaches that most interest you.

Option Three

Postcolonial and decolonial approaches to ethics and politics are among the most important current scholarly movements. They bring unique, un-voiced insights to the fore and also propose concrete steps forward in terms of how scholars and policy analysts must reconsider ethical perceptions and responsibilities. What exactly, then, do proponents suggest is transformative about the respective approaches and upon what grounds are their claims based? When answering this question, present a clear position concerning the validity and significance as well as the political consequences of these movements. Illustrate your case with respect to a particular political issue or topic and what postcolonial and decolonial movements tell us and may or may not change.

Option Four

Societies that have gone through major conflict and traumas, such as civil wars and genocide, face enormous social, cultural, and political challenges. Typically, they need to work through violence and trauma, antagonisms, human wrongs and injustices in order to re-create social cohesion, order and ensure a sustainable peace. While there no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, a range of paths forward have been formulated over past decades. These include legalistic mechanisms such as amnesty hearings and criminal tribunals and also cultural mechanisms aimed raising awareness of, and commemorating past injustice, such as memorials, art museums and performances. Drawing on a historical or contemporary case, assess the significance of these mechanisms for societies working through the traumas and injustices of conflict. How do you believe divided societies can reconcile and ensure rights of citizens in the aftermath of violence?

Option Five

Climate change and global environmental protection is one the most urgent and challenging political issues of our time. How can ethical approaches help us to better understand the problems and/or potentials involved in responding to climate change? When answering this question, engage at least two ethical approaches and present a case outlining whether and how local communities and states should consider climate change as falling within their sphere of ethical responsibility. Illustrate your case with reference to a particular aspect of climate politics and the complexities involved with addressing a global problem in a world of autonomous and independent yet unequal nation-states.


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