Strands of Study

Strand 1: Power and decision making

Many of the basic ideas and arguments of social and political sciences, anthropology and political philosophy are concerned with how the maintenance of social order can enhance people’s lives and with who wins and loses from the different ways of organising societies. This includes debates and discussions on the ways in which people are interdependent; the roles of rules, laws, norms and values in ensuring order; the way in which the weak can be protected by and from the strong; who wins and who loses under the rules and laws of contemporary societies; and on the most appropriate ways of bringing about change in society. Underpinning all of these ideas and arguments lies a concern for ‘power’ and an interest in who has and can use power: to get people to act in ways they might otherwise not act; to establish and enforce rules and practices and to shape ideas and beliefs.

While there are many avenues through which these ideas could be explored, in this strand they are addressed through looking at who participates in decision-making and on what basis they participate. This strand explores these foundational ideas in social and political sciences through two contexts: decision-making in the school and decision-making in democratic institutions at national and European level.

Topic 1 starts with an exploration of participation in decision-making in schools. In doing so it allows learners to look at the debates and issues about power and decision-making in a context where the issues are very real and meaningful for them. This will enable them to see the ideas, debates and data of social and political science as directly relevant to their lives. The debates addressed in this topic focus on

  • why or if we need rules/laws
  • who should be involved in making these laws/rules and why
  • whether laws/rules should be limited to a focus on personal safety or whether we need a broader set of rules
  • who benefits from the way the laws/rules are designed
  • who enforces rules/laws and how do they do so.

Ultimately, through engaging in these debates, learners will develop an understanding of the different dimensions of power in social and political life.

Topic 2 focuses on decision-making in democratic institutions  at a national and European level. There are numerous different branches of government and different institutions through which decision-making could be explored. This topic focuses particularly on the way in which people are represented within the executive branch of government in Ireland, and, for comparison purposes, in Northern Ireland and in the European Union. Such a comparison retains the focus on institutions which are directly meaningful to people’s lives in Ireland while at the same time  allowing learners to better understand that any form of political organisation is a result of choices which are made.

The media plays a particularly important role in contributing to and shaping the nature of debate in democratic societies. In addition to a focus on the executive branch in government, therefore, topic 2 also contains a particular focus on the role of the media in democracies.

By the end of strand 1 learners will have been exposed to many of the foundational ideas and concepts of Politics and Society. These include power, representation, democracy, social class and gender. Later strands will provide opportunities to further apply and deepen the understanding of these concepts. Learners will also have begun to use evidence and data in coming to reflective judgements on foundational questions in social and political life.

Topic 1 Power and decision-making in school

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1.1. Processes of power and decision-making in their school
  1. 1

    describe the process of decision-making and the roles of different groups such as teachers, principal, parents, students, management body, patron, statutory bodies, government, in relation to:

    • one aspect of school rules related to safety, for example policies on fighting or bullying
    • one aspect of school rules not related to safety, for example school uniform rules

    drawing on these examples, come to a conclusion as to which of these people or groups have the most and least influence on school rules.

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    drawing on these examples, come to a conclusion as to which of these people or groups have the most and least influence on school rules

    • clipboard
1.2. Arguments concerning the need for rules
  1. 1

    apply in their own words and to their own environment the following arguments about rules and the process of making rules:

    • rules provide protection for weaker members of the  community  from  stronger  members  and provide a framework for orderly engagement in learning at school
    • those who have the most knowledge and wisdom should play the strongest role in making rules
    • there should be very few rules and then only concerned with keeping people safe; any more than that is an infringement on people’s freedom
    • those who have the most power or influence can make rules that suit their own interests and not the interests of everyone in the community
    • there is a danger of those with power enforcing rules arbitrarily
    • it  is  compliance  to  norms  and  values,  not enforcement of rules, that maintains a sense of order
    • clipboard
  2. 2

    engage with different viewpoints and, where appropriate, evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to which of these arguments are most supportable

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    identify which of these arguments would be associated with a ‘left-wing’ position, which would be associated with a ‘right-wing’ position, and which could be associated with either

    • clipboard
1.3. Ideas underpinning these arguments
  1. 1

    illustrate the following dimensions of the concept of power with respect to their own environment:

    • getting people to act  in  ways they would not otherwise act in
    • being able to set rules or practices that bring benefit to some groups over others
    • being able to shape ideas so that people think of a particular way of doing things as the best or only way (ideology)
    • power can be exercised by a range of people or groups in a society, including those that appear institutionally ‘powerless’
    • clipboard
1.4. Evidence concerning the effects of rules and rule-making processes
  1. 1

    summarise research evidence on the extent to which some groups are, or are not, under- represented in decision-making processes in schools

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    engage with different viewpoints and evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to whether decision-making processes in schools are appropriate

    • clipboard

Topic 2 Power and decision-making at national and European level

Students learn about

Students should be able to

2.1. The making of national policy
  1. 1

    describe the process of decision-making at national level in relation to a policy that impacts upon young people, making reference to the roles of:

    • civil society bodies or groups
    • statutory bodies
    • the civil service
    • the social partnership process
    • the relevant Minister and the government
    • political parties
    • the Houses of the Oireachtas
    • the European Union
    • supranational agreements such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
    • clipboard
2.2. How the executive branch of government is selected
  1. 1

    present an overview of the operation of the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches of government

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    describe the voting systems for the Houses of the Oireachtas, including eligibility for and limitations to voting franchise

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    describe the way in which the Taoiseach and Government are selected, and their roles

    • clipboard
  4. 4

    describe the way in which the Northern Ireland Executive is selected, and the ministers' roles

    • clipboard
  5. 5

    describe the way in which the European Commission is selected, the way in which the European Parliament is selected, the way in which the Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers) is constituted, and their respective executive roles

    • clipboard
  6. 6

    describe the way in which the executive is put in place in an example of a non-democratic country

    • clipboard
  7. 7

    compare these four approaches for selecting an executive, identifying the strengths  and weaknesses of each

    • clipboard
2.3. Social class and gender as important social categories
  1. 1

    define what is meant by ‘social class’

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    illustrate the view that, in capitalism, social class is an important way of categorising who has and who has not got power

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    critically evaluate the view that in capitalism, social class is an important way of categorising who has and who has not got power

    • clipboard
  4. 4

    define what is meant by patriarchy and illustrate the view that, in a patriarchy, gender is an important way of categorising who has and who has not got power

    • clipboard
  5. 5

    critically evaluate the view that modern Irish society is a patriarchy

    • clipboard
2.4. Arguments concerning representation
  1. 1

    identify to what extent the arguments and ideas discussed in topic 1.2 and 1.3 are relevant at national level

    • clipboard
2.5. Evidence about the effectiveness of representation
  1. 1

    summarise research evidence on the effectiveness of the Irish system of elections in representing the will of all the Irish people

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    engage with different viewpoints and evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to whether the Irish system of government is effective in representing the will of all the Irish people

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    critically evaluate a piece of qualitative or quantitative research—that they have not previously seen—on an aspect of representation in decision-making, making reference to the quality of the evidence and of the conclusions drawn in this study

    • clipboard
2.6. Traditional and new media in a democracy
  1. 1

    explore the changing nature of contemporary media, identifying:

    • the characteristics of different types of media
    • the control of information in different types of media
    • the challenges for regulators of media
    • clipboard
  2. 2

    describe what is meant by ‘the freedom of the press’ and ‘the social responsibility of the press’ and ‘the accountability of the press’

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    identify the roles which these three concepts are thought to play in a democratic society

    • clipboard
  4. 4

    drawing on the ideas outlined in 1.3, describe the power of various types of media with respect to:

    • ownership and control of media
    • the role of advertising in media
    • the power of those who work in the media
    • the consumer-targeting strategies adopted by the media
    • the origination of media content
    • the global reach and influence of the media
    • clipboard
2.7. Participants in these debates
  1. 1

    describe in brief and general terms the contribution of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Robert Nozick, Sylvia Walby, Karl Marx and Kathleen Lynch to the discussions in this strand and the contexts in which they made their contributions

    • clipboard

Strand 2: Active citizenship

Strand 1 deals with the concepts and ideas which are foundational to Politics and Society. It also addresses some of the foundational skills of analysing and interpreting evidence and data. Strand 2 deals with a range of other skills which are also foundational to active and reflective citizenship. These include the skills of effectively contributing to communities and the skills of deliberating and coming to decisions when working with others.

One way in which learners are enabled to bring their learning from across the strands of Politics and Society together is through a citizenship project, which will be undertaken in relation to one of the themes of the subject. This project will enable learners to evaluate opportunities for taking action in communities, to justify the activity they choose to undertake and to evaluate their own learning from being an active participant in civic, social and political life. While learners will draw on learning outcomes from all strands in undertaking this project, the learning outcomes identified in strand 2 are most directly associated with the project. The project will be allocated a weighting of 20% in the marks for the final assessment of Politics and Society.

Topic 3 focuses on being an active participant in a dimension of civic, social and political life. It reflects the key skill of ‘being personally effective’. Topic 3 begins with a focus on different forms of action possible within social and political life, before moving on to explore the skills that enable someone to be effective in the actions they choose to undertake.

Topic 4 addresses the skills involved in working with others in groups and in broader democratic society. It reflects the key skill of ‘working with others’. By beginning with a focus on the rights and responsibilities related to communication it provides a link to Strand 3: Human rights and responsibilities.

While Strand 1 and 2 are presented sequentially, in practice the skills that are reflected in Strand 2 will often be taught alongside the concepts and ideas addressed in Strand 1. They will also continue to be practiced and applied throughout the approaches to teaching and learning chosen for all four strands.

Topic 3 Effectively contributing to communities

Students learn about

Students should be able to

3.1. People who have made positive contributions to their social context
  1. 1

    describe in general terms the way in which people, from Ireland and the wider world, have sought what they saw as a positive impact on their society, including:

    • someone who has engaged in charity, voluntary or community work 
    • someone who has run for political office 
    • someone  who  has  chosen  to  work  in  public service  such  as  a  teacher,  nurse  or  social worker
    • someone who used the law
    • someone who used civil disobedience such as Gandhi
    • someone who proposed the use of violence against an undemocratic state such as Nelson Mandela
    • clipboard
  2. 2

    critically evaluate the appropriateness of the strategy these individuals adopted

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    identify the personal qualities which are associated with being effective in having a positive impact on society

    • clipboard
3.2. Becoming involved in, or starting an initiative, group or organisation
  1. 1

    make contact with initiatives, groups or organisations that are involved in politics, human rights, cultural diversity or sustainable development

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    gather information relevant to their own participation in the organisation, group or initiative

    • clipboard
3.3. The range of means of taking action at local, national or international level
  1. 1

    undertake a form of action agreed with an initiative, group or  organisation that is involved in politics, human rights, cultural diversity or sustainable development or develop a new initiative, group or organisation working in one of these areas

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    justify the form of action which they have chosen to undertake in light of available alternatives

    • clipboard
3.4. Identifying, evaluating and achieving personal and collective goals, including developing and evaluating action plans
  1. 1

    set  realistic  personal  and  collective  goals  and targets to be achieved within a time frame

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    construct action plans to help reach the targets and identify methods for monitoring how well the plans are working

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    cooperate with other members of the group to identify collective goals

    • clipboard
  4. 4

    cooperate with group members to identify how different roles can contribute to the overall goals

    • clipboard
  5. 5

    communicate ideas and needs within the group

    • clipboard
  6. 6

    identify any help and resources that will be needed
    to implement the plans and reach the targets

    • clipboard
  7. 7

    within a specific time frame, evaluate the extent to which the targets have been reached and engage in personal reflection on the process of setting goals and targets

    • clipboard
3.5. Developing personal qualities that help in new and difficult situations, such as taking initiatives, being flexible, being reliable and being able to persevere when difficulties arise
  1. 1

    recognise  that  new  situations  are  likely  to  be uncertain and present personal challenges

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    take  the  initiative  on  some  occasions  and  not always leave it to others

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    be  flexible  and  be  prepared  to  try  a  different approach

    • clipboard
  4. 4

    be  reliable  in  following  through  with  tasks  and undertakings

    • clipboard
3.6. Appraising oneself, evaluating one’s own performance, receiving and responding to feedback
  1. 1

    set time aside to take stock of current achievements and, with the help of others, to engage in an honest appraisal of their strengths and weaknesses

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    show resilience to receive and make sense of feedback

    • clipboard

Topic 4 Rights and responsibilities in communication with others

Students learn about

Students should be able to

4.1. Rights to freedom of expression in small-group contexts
  1. 1

    describe their rights to express their views and be heard on matters that affect them (article 12) to seek, receive and impart ideas and information (article 13 and article 17) as per the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    summarise research evidence on whether these rights are enjoyed equally by everyone in Ireland

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    engage with different viewpoints and evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to whether these rights are enjoyed in Ireland equally by everyone

    • clipboard
  4. 4

    identify that they are both a right holder and a duty bearer in relation to these rights, and that skills in listening, communicating and in accessing and evaluating information can play a role in ensuring everyone can realise these rights

    • clipboard
4.2. Developing skills in listening and communicating
  1. 1

    participate in a 'small group’ process through being able to:

    • make points clearly and succinctly
    • listen carefully to other points of view
    • develop empathy and see alternative perspectives
    • express emotion in appropriate ways
    • help others to feel included in the group
    • help motivate the group to persist in the face of difficulties
    • celebrate the achievements of the group
    • clipboard
4.3. Acknowledging differences and negotiating and resolving conflicts
  1. 1

    deal with conflict in the group through being able to:

    • respect the rights and views of others in the group
    • develop  empathy  by  imagining  the  situation from other peoples’ point of view
    • separate personal and relational issues from the issue under discussion
    • use techniques to help explore alternative solutions and options such as brainstorming, visualisation, listing positive/negative/interesting attributes
    • identify areas of agreement and disagreements among the different positions
    • make suggestions about possible compromises and alternative ways forward
    • predict the likely consequences of options and alternatives and systematically examine the pros and cons of each
    • recognise the impact of real-world constraints
    • evaluate outcomes of solutions and decisions both in the short and long term
    • appreciate   the   likely   bias   in   analysing   by ‘hindsight’ 
    • agree ways to resolve conflict
    • clipboard
4.4. Seeking and evaluating information and ideas
  1. 1

    seek and evaluate ideas and information received from traditional media, new media and directly from other people in a reasoned way, through being able to:

    • access information from a range of contemporary media, and through being able to identify appropriate people to ask
    • elicit opinions, views and emotions from others through the appropriate use of questioning and responding strategies
    • understand the difference between opinion, reasoned judgment and fact
    • judge the credibility of an information source using criteria such as authorship, currency, potential bias
    • recognise components of an argument such as assumptions, reasons, counter-arguments and conclusions
    • be sufficiently open-minded and curious to engage in speculation and argument
    • recognise the effects of using emotive words in arguments
    • recognise the role of emotion as well as logic in swaying people’s judgements
    • evaluate their own written and verbal communications on the basis of these criteria
    • clipboard
4.5. Relating democratic practices in small groups to the sorts of practices that are appropriate for
  1. 1

    identify how the skills of democratic participation in small groups could be appropriately used in local, national, European and wider-world contexts

    • clipboard

Strand 3: Human Rights and responsibilities

While strands 1 and 2 outline the foundational concepts, ideas and skills of Politics and Society, strands 3 and 4 provide an opportunity to apply and practice these in more detail.

An understanding of and a respect for human rights and responsibilities and for human dignity is a key objective of Politics and Society. Strand 3 addresses this objective directly. As with other strands and topics, it begins with a focus on a context which is directly relevant to young people’s lives, that is, their rights to education. Learners will also be able to refer back to their earlier treatment of rights and responsibilities related to communication. Together, these different rights provide learners with a range of different experiences and issues to relate to their study of rights and responsibilities.

Through an exploration of the different ways in which their rights to education and communication are framed, learners will gain an understanding of a selection of key instruments for articulating rights. There are many different human rights instruments that could be addressed as part of such a study: in topic 5 the Irish constitution and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are selected for particular study. Together they provide learners with an opportunity to understand the different sorts of instruments that exist and the sorts of impacts they can have. Learners will also gain an opportunity to explore human rights concepts and the limitations to and constraints upon applying human rights concepts. The concept of equality of rights is also explored and evidence in relation to equality is examined and evaluated.

Topic 6 broadens the focus to look at human rights and responsibilities in a European and wider-world context. It introduces a further selection of rights, including the right to survival and development, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and to have and manifest religion or beliefs, the right to protection from physical or mental violence, injury, neglect or abuse and the right to rest, leisure play and recreation. It also introduces a number of further relevant human rights documents: the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Declaration on the Right to Development. It broadens the debate on human rights issues to include an exploration of the interplay between human rights and culture and it enables learners to further develop and use their skills of data interpretation in relation to human rights.

Topic 5 Human rights and responsibilities in Ireland

Students learn about

Students should be able to

5.1. Some of the rights of young people
  1. 1

    identify their rights to education as described in Bunreacht na hEireann

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    identify their rights to education (articles 28 and 29), as per the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    identify the relationship between the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights

    • clipboard
  4. 4

    identify in this context what is meant by the terms ‘rights holder’ and ‘duty bearer’

    • clipboard
  5. 5

    using the concepts of ‘immediate obligation’ and ‘progressive realisation’, identify what it means for states to agree to act to implement rights 'to the maximum extent of their available resources'

    • clipboard
5.2. Human rights principles
  1. 1

    explain what it means to see human rights as being

    • universal
    • inalienable
    • indivisible
    • clipboard
  2. 2

    distinguish between

    • civil and political rights
    • economic, social and cultural rights
    • clipboard
  3. 3

    explain what it means for a right to be seen as being

    • absolute
    • limited
    • qualified
    • clipboard
  4. 4

    explain what it means for a right to be seen as being

    • a negative right
    • a positive right
    • clipboard
5.3. The idea of equality in relation to rights
  1. 1

    describe what it means for people to be entitled to rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    describe the grounds under which discrimination is illegal in Irish law (gender, family status, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, membership of the Traveller community) and the role of the equal status acts in prohibiting discrimination.

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    making reference back to the ideas addressed in 1.3, illustrate the distinction between direct and indirect discrimination

    • clipboard
  4. 4

    describe patterns of diversity which exist on the island of Ireland, including:

    • ethnic diversity and membership of the Traveller community
    • language diversity 
    • religious diversity 
    • diversity of sexual orientation 
    • diversity of ability and disability
    • clipboard
5.4. Arguments about rights
  1. 1

    apply in their own words and to their own environment the following arguments about human rights:

    • rights provide a framework that protects us all from powerful groups in society
    • rights provide a basis for ensuring equality in society
    • positive rights are unfair as they make some people pay to implement the rights of other people
    • sometimes the rights of the individual have to be set aside to protect the rights of the majority
    • rights don’t go far enough because they only provide equality of access and opportunity, not for equality of outcome
    • clipboard
  2. 2

    engage with different viewpoints and, where appropriate, evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to which of these arguments are supportable

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    identify which of these arguments would be associated with a ‘left-wing’ position, which would be associated with a ‘right-wing’ position, and which could be associated with either

    • clipboard
5.5. State bodies for human rights
  1. 1

    compare the roles and functions of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

    • clipboard
5.6. Evidence on the right to education
  1. 1

    summarise research evidence on whether the right to education is enjoyed equally by everyone in Ireland

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    engage with different viewpoints and evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to whether the right to education is enjoyed equally by everyone in Ireland.

    • clipboard
5.7. Participants in these debates
  1. 1

    describe in brief and general terms the contribution of John Locke, Robert Nozick, Paulo Freire, Martha Nussbaum and Kathleen Lynch to the discussions in this topic and the contexts in which they made their contributions

    • clipboard

Topic 6 Human rights and responsibilities in Europe and the wider world

Students learn about

Students should be able to

6.1. Rights in the wider world
  1. 1

    summarise research evidence on the extent to which the following rights outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are implemented around the world:

    • the right to survival and development (article 6)
    • the right to freedom of thought, conscience and to have and manifest their religion or beliefs (article 14)
    • the right to protection from physical or mental violence, injury, neglect or abuse (article 19)
    • the right to rest, leisure, play and recreation (article 31)
    • clipboard
  2. 2

    summarise the main rights outlined in the European Convention on Human Rights, and the mechanisms through which people can seek to have these rights implemented.

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    critically evaluate a piece of qualitative or quantitative research, that they have not previously seen, on the implementation of human rights, making reference to the quality of the evidence and of the conclusions drawn in this study

    • clipboard
6.2. Arguments about rights in the wider world
  1. 1

    identify to what extent the arguments and ideas discussed in topic 5.2 are relevant in the wider world

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    in addition, apply in their own words the following arguments about human rights:

    • human rights are a western idea, and imposing this idea upon non-western countries is a form  of cultural imperialism
    • political rights can be set aside for a period in order to enable a country to develop so that it can provide for its citizens
    • clipboard
  3. 3

    engage with different viewpoints and, where appropriate, evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to which of these arguments are supportable

    • clipboard
6.3. International cooperation and human rights
  1. 1

    identify what it means for states to agree to implement economic, social and cultural rights within the framework of international cooperation

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    identify the main elements of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development

    • clipboard

Strand 4: Globalisation and localisation

Globalisation concerns the interconnectedness of the diverse parts of the globe through increased and higher-speed communications, through the increased integration of local economies and national political strands into a more global economic and political context, and through the cultural exchange that arises from these processes. Although it can be regarded as an abstract idea, globalisation can be seen to have an enormous impact upon people’s lives today, for example in the changing social and cultural make-up of contemporary societies, in the use of communication technology, in the jobs that people do and the ones they will do in the future, in the impact of international political institutions upon people’s lives, in the changing nature of civil society organisations, and in the capacity of people to impact upon national and international political institutions.

It is sometimes argued that, alongside an increased focus on the ‘global’ the contemporary world is equally marked by an increased focus on the ‘local’. This is reflected in a growing interest in ‘identity’ and in the politics of identity, in a growing recognition of diversity within countries and communities, and in a growing recognition of the ways in which the ‘global’ has impacts which are ‘local’, and in ways in which the ‘local’ has impacts which are ‘global’.

There are many ways in which globalisation and localisation can be explored in contemporary societies. This strand looks at two of them: a focus on identity and diversity and a focus on development that is sustainable.

One of the impacts of globalisation has been an increase in travel and migration around the globe. This has led to contemporary societies being increasingly diverse. Globalisation is also associated with an increased focus on identity and on the politics of identity. Both these ideas are represented in topic 7 which looks at the diversity that is a characteristic of contemporary societies. Building on the learners’ understanding of diversity and of cultural difference developed in strand 3, it provides them with an opportunity to think about the ways in which other cultures are characterised within their own culture, and to discuss the appropriate relationship between different cultures.  In this context, learners will have the chance to examine a number of alternative perspectives on the relationship between ‘western’ culture and other cultures.

Other impacts of globalisation can be seen in the inter-related areas of global inequalities in wealth and poverty, and global environmental impacts of human activity. In topic 8 learners can explore the different ways in which people see the linkages between the local and the global in the processes of sustainable development. This allows them to explore the idea that interdependence and inter- linkages between different parts of the globe, such as through multinational companies or through trade links, is a positive force for global development in that it provides employment opportunities to developing countries as well as opportunities for them to learn from more developed countries and economies. Learners also explore the alternative view, that these inter-linkages simply provide opportunities for strong, wealthy economies to exploit poorer economies. Processes of development—intended to bring industry and employment to an area—can also have environmental impacts which are felt across the globe. Topic 8 also explores how different ideas on environmental sustainability can be related to ideas on the processes of global development.

Topic 7 Globalisation and identity

Students learn about

Students should be able to

7.1. Representations of national identity made available to young people
  1. 1

    summarise research evidence on the ways in which ‘Irish’ identity has been represented in Irish school curriculum

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    summarise research evidence on the relationship between education and sense of identity in Northern Ireland

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    engage with different viewpoints and evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to the role played by education on the island of Ireland in shaping a sense of national identity

    • clipboard
7.2. Diversity and cultural change
  1. 1

    draw on examples from their own environment and from qualitative and quantitative research data to illustrate the idea that cultures are the product of a process of mixing and adaptation and that they do not stay static across time

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    draw on examples from their own environment and from qualitative and quantitative research data to explore the role of information and communication technology and of the media in the process of cultural mixing and adaptation

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    draw on examples from their own environment and from qualitative and quantitative research data to explore the role of migration and travel in this process of cultural mixing and adaptation

    • clipboard
7.3. Diversity in the european union
  1. 1

    describe patterns of ethnic and cultural diversity which exist within the European Union including:

    • ethnic diversity within states and within the European Union
    • language diversity
    • religious diversity
    • clipboard
7.4. Understanding identity
  1. 1

    apply in their own words and to their own environment the following arguments about culture and identity:

    • national  groups  and  ethnic  groups  are  those that  share  a  common  culture  (which  implies common values, beliefs, ways of doing things, and may imply a common history and language)
    • national groups and ethnic groups are ‘imagined communities’; social constructs which involves the imagining of an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, something which can have significant consequences for how people understand and interact with those seen to be in the ‘other’
    • clipboard
  2. 2

    engage with different viewpoints and evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to which of these arguments are supportable

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    identify the positive and negative effects of developing a sense of ethnic identity including:

    • the benefits associated with achieving a secure and confident sense of one’s own ethnic identity
    • the risks of inter-ethnic violence and genocide related to an insecure or threatened sense of ethnic identity
    • clipboard
7.5. Understanding interaction between western and non-western culture
  1. 1

    apply in their own words, drawing on evidence from the wider world, the following arguments about culture and identity in the wider world:

    • the west has historically constructed itself (‘us’) in opposition to the non-western world (‘them’) and, in doing so, has imagined itself to be rational, civilised and mature and has imagined the non-western world as  irrational, depraved and child-like
    • processes of globalisation such as travel, commerce and ICT are breaking down national cultures    and    identities    and    creating    a cosmopolitan culture and a cosmopolitan identity
    • there are a number of major civilisations in the modern world that are culturally fundamentally different and are in competition with each other
    • if the west does not protect its culture of human rights and rational thought from other world civilisations then western culture will be wiped out
    • clipboard
  2. 2

    engage with different viewpoints and, where appropriate, evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to which of these arguments are supportable

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    critically evaluate a piece of qualitative or quantitative research, that they have not previously seen, on cultural change or identity, making reference to the quality of the evidence and of the conclusions drawn in this study

    • clipboard
7.6. Globalisation and political power
  1. 1

    describe the role of supranational bodies, (including, where appropriate, the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation, World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme) in process of decision-making in relation to a policy that impacts upon young people

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    evaluate the argument that power is moving from national governments to  supranational bodies

    • clipboard
7.7. Participants in these debates
  1. 1

    describe in brief and general terms the contribution of Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Benedict Anderson, Edward Said and Samuel Huntington to the discussions in this topic and the contexts in which they made their contributions

    • clipboard

Topic 8 Sustainable development

Students learn about

Students should be able to

8.1. Actions that address sustainable development
  1. 1

    describe voluntary work in their local community which aims to address environmental justice, global poverty or underdevelopment

    • clipboard
  2. 2

    describe how their own purchases contribute to or address environmental justice, global poverty or underdevelopment through ethically traded or through terms of trade dominated by western companies

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    describe how their own energy use contributes to climate change, and the impact of climate change on people in less-developed countries

    • clipboard
8.2. Arguments concerning sustainable development
  1. 1

    apply in their own words the following arguments about sustainable development:

    • underdevelopment is caused by people in less developed countries not having the knowledge, technology and industry of people in developed countries
    • underdevelopment is caused by unfair terms of trade imposed by the west in collaboration with local leaders in developing countries
    • underdevelopment is caused by corrupt local elites in less-developed countries
    • industrialisation in less developed countries has driven women, who were the traditional environmental stewards in societies, into a position of powerlessness and poverty and has damaged the environment
    • technology and the laws of the free market will solve our environmental problems
    • development in harmony with nature requires a move away from big industries and urbanisation and towards small scale, self-reliant communities using renewable resources
    • clipboard
  2. 2

    engage with different viewpoints and evaluate and use evidence to come to a conclusion as to which of these arguments are most supportable

    • clipboard
  3. 3

    identify which of these arguments would be associated with a ‘left-wing’ position, which would be associated with a ‘right-wing’ position, and which could be associated with either

    • clipboard
  4. 4

    critically evaluate a piece of qualitative or quantitative research, that they have not previously seen, on development, making reference to the quality of the evidence and of the conclusions drawn in this study

    • clipboard
8.3. Participants in these debates
  1. 1

    describe in brief and general terms the contribution of André Gunder Frank, Vandana Shiva and Seán McDonagh to the discussions in this topic and the contexts in which they made their contributions

    • clipboard