Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

Sociologists prioritise the study of contemporary Australian and global society to analyse key sites of sociological and social concern. This unit will have a particular focus on the impact of a changing, globalizing world on identity, and social structures, cultural practices and global institutions and will explore these through the study of selected contemporary issues.Students will explore sociological perspectives, concepts, theories and research methodologies to understand the contours of a range of social inequalities, disparities in power, and the impacts of social division on life chances. This unit aims to introduce key ideas, theories and issues which will be expanded in subsequent units throughout the Sociology sequence.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the sociological imagination (GA5) 

LO2 - Identify different sociological approaches and perspectives to analyse sets of social patterns (GA5, GA8) 

LO3 - Communicate clearly through written and/or oral forms using sociological theories and evidence (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9) 

LO4 - Apply sociological theories, concepts, and evidence to the understanding of social phenomenon (GA1, GA2, GA8) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Social class and economic inequality  
  • Work and education  
  • Gender and sexualities 
  • Religion   
  • Health and well being 
  • Mass media and social change  
  • Social change and the environment 
  • Race and ethnicity 
  • Globalisation  
  • Social interaction.  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit employs two formal ways of learning and teaching. It additionally makes use of online materials and activities to facilitate flexible and accessible supplementary learning. Lectures are structured to promote learning on specific theories, concepts and case-studies that will complement the conceptual tools and theoretical knowledge critical to analysing divergent approaches to sociology. Tutorials for this unit provide students opportunities for active learning. Students will engage in activities such as reading, writing, interrogating ideas, exploring case studies, doing role plays, debating, and giving presentations, and foundational skills building. These activities, as well as promoting the acquisition and assimilation of new concepts and information from lecture content, are designed to build skills appropriate to first year study in Sociology. 


This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The unit includes three assessments with the following rationale: 


Analytical Task: This assessment is designed to first develop knowledge around research practices and develop skills in students’ analysis of issues surrounding inequality.  


Written Task: This provides a context for students to apply sociological theories to real-world issues. 


Exam: The exam encourages broad engagement with the content of the unit and will test students’ knowledge and understanding of the different topics covered.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Analytical Task: Social Research in Contemporary Society  

This is a two staged task. In Stage 1, students work in small groups to research a topic in contemporary society, and undertake research on the topic to justify, and develop an appropriate survey tool (e.g. structured questionnaire) to guide empirical research on the topic. In Stage 2, the tool is used to survey Contemporary Society and Change students. Results are analysed and presented in class as a group.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9  

Written Task: Essay 

Students are required to research a topic in-depth and apply the sociological perspective to it, outlining key patterns, trends and changes using evidence, apply social theory to analysis of topic, and communicate research using a sociological perspective and communicate findings using appropriate academic literacy conventions. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9  


The final exam will test students’ knowledge and understanding of the different topics covered in the unit. 


LO1, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9  

Representative texts and references

Arvanitakis, J. (ed.) (2016) Sociologic: Analysing Everyday Life and Culture, South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.  

Browne, K. (2019) An Introduction to Sociology 5th edition. London. Polity Press 

Furze, B. and Savy, P. (2014) Sociology in Today’s World (3rd Edition). Cengage  

Germov, J. and Poole, M., (eds.) (2019) Public Sociology: An Introduction to Australian Society (4th edition), Sydney: Allen and Unwin.  

Giddens A, and P. Sutton, (2018) Sociology (8th editionPolity Press.   

Henslin, J, Possamai, A. and Possamia–Inesedy, A. (2016) Sociology: a Down to Earth Approach (3rd edition). Pearson 

Van Krieken, R. (2017) Sociology (6th edition), Sydney: Longman.  

Willis, E. (2011) The Sociological Quest, (5th edition), Sydney: Allen and Unwin.  

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