POLITICS AND PUBLIC POLICY
2011/2012, Semester 1
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Lee Kuan Yew School Of Public Policy)
Modular Credits: 4
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
This module aims:
1. To help students appreciate the significance of the political context for understanding the conditions of possibility within which policymaking happens.
2. To give students a comparative understanding of key institutions, practices, cultures, interests, and actors of modern political systems.
3. To equip students with a critical vocabulary drawn from political theories and ideologies.
4. To get students into the habit of critically engaging abstract models and theories with real-world cases and concrete examples selected especially for comparative analysis.
There are NO prerequisites for this module.
There will be 12 substantive sessions of 3 hours each. The sessions will be conducted as a mix of short lectures, small-group discussions, case learning, role-play, and structured debates. Students will write two term papers based on assigned questions. They will sit a closed-book final examination.
PART ONE: The Political Context of Policymaking (Suzaina Kadir)
Introducing Politics and Public Policy – What we mean by “political, theoretical and ideological contexts of policymaking” and what we should expect to learn from PP5103
The Modern State as an Analytical Framework
Regime Types and State Capacity
Political Institutions and State Capacity
Democratization and Political Change
Political Culture and Values
PART TWO: The Theoretical and Ideological Context of Policymaking (Kenneth Paul Tan)
Introducing the case (foreign domestic workers in Singapore) and some basic concepts (power, freedom, and equality)
Submit Term Paper 1 in class and online
Liberal democracy and neoliberal globalization
Communitarianism and civic republicanism
Marxist critiques of neoliberal globalization
Liberation: gender, sexuality, and race
Pragmatism and the community of inquiry
Politics, governance, and policymaking
Submit Term Paper 2 in class and online
This module addresses the question, ‘What of the political world do we need to know in order to have a critical understanding of the rationale, mechanics, and prospects of policymaking in the modern world?’ Part 1 explores the institutions, practices, cultures, interests, and actors of modern political systems. Part 2 focuses on modern political theories and ideologies that have conditioned the possibilities and limitations of policymaking. Cases and examples will be drawn primarily from the Singapore experience but discussed in comparison with appropriate cases and examples from elsewhere.
Term Paper 1
Submit in class and online on 29 September
Term Paper 2
Submit in class and online on 10 November
1 December, AM
1. Class Participation
You will be assessed on:
How well you have prepared for class. It is the responsibility of every class member to prepare conscientiously, as this will help to ensure lively, interesting, useful, and active class discussion. For some simple advice on preparing your readings for class, see ‘Reading up for class’ (
The quality of your input during class discussions. For some simple advice on participating in class, see ‘Speaking up in class’ (
Your attitude to class activities and group learning