1 x 2-hour workshop weekly
4.5 units of first level topics
Enrolment not permitted
SOCI2008 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
First year sociology topic knowledge, or first year knowledge gained from humanities or social science topics
Topic description

How are our passions regulated by social norms? How is suicide influenced by social relations? How has religion shaped the development of modern society? Why do some people live to work and others work to live? This Topic reviews these pressing social questions by introducing students to classical social theories and theorists. Core issues explored include: how suicide reflects break downs in social integration and regulation (Durkheim); how power operates through an 'iron cage' of rationality and bureacracy (Weber); how the dynamics of capitalist modes of production continually re-shape interpersonal and class relations through processes of alienation and commodification (Marx); and how everday social interactions, such as flirting, is part of the 'play' of social life governed by unspoken interaction rules (Simmel). This topic provides students with a grounding in sociology's intellectual roots and a conceptual toolkit for critically understanding the enduring problems of modern social life.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Introduce classical sociological perspectives on social problems and moral issues and their continuing relevance in the contemporary era
  • Examine the social processes and structures through which modern societies and contemporary culture is produced, reproduced and transformed
  • Provide opportunities for the further development of skills, such as: constructive and informed participation in tutorials, group work, and seminar presentations
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Describe, compare and evaluate a range of classical sociological perspectives and relate these to the critique of contemporary social trends
  2. Understand the key social processes and structures interwoven with the personal troubles of individuals and how these relate to contemporary social life
  3. Work independently
  4. Work in a team
  5. Use academic conventions in assessments