Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


10 cp from 200-level unit in Sociology or related discipline

Teaching organisation

36 hours of lectures, tutorials or seminar on campus or equivalent over 12 weeks

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit examines the importance of economic issues and patterns to the notion of social justice and the present realities of inequality. The unit considers how different aspects of the economic system and economic behaviour contribute to and cause social inequality. In particular, the unit considers the causes of, and possible solutions to poverty, through the relevance of economic participation via work and the crucial role of education. The analyses of poverty, work, and education within global and local economic and social contexts highlight the systemic dimensions of inequality that impact individuals considerably. The unit advocates the Catholic and Enlightenment ethos of pursuing social justice through economic equality to be a desirable policy aim that restores a basic human right while bestowing dignity on all.

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 - Understand the extent and nature of the relationship between inequality, education, and work on a global and local level via the sociological perspective (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6)

LO2 - Independently formulate a specific research task using the methodological and theoretical perspectives of sociology. (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6)

LO3 - Employ a range of relevant empirical evidence to complete a specific research task. (GA4)

LO4 - Demonstrate clear understanding of the institutional structure and social impacts of the contemporary economic system by using key contemporary sociological theories. (GA3, GA4, GA5) 

LO5 - Consider how to address social and economic inequalities and suggest key strategies of change through sociological reasoning. (GA1, GA3, GA6)

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 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


Topics will include:

  • The extent and nature of poverty and economic inequality on a global and local scale
  • Analysis of theories and causes of economic inequality
  • How the unequal distribution of wealth and life chances are related to social justice and human rights
  • Analysis of concepts, measurements, and definitions of poverty and their implications on social policy
  • Solutions to economic inequality including social policy options and community development strategies
  • The connections between the economic system, work, education, and the reproduction of inequality
  • The meaning and nature of work through different historical and cultural contexts
  • Post Industrial society, neoliberalism, and the future of social justice

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit’s learning and teaching strategy when taught online is based on online lecture material to provide students with expert knowledge of unit material organized in terms of theoretical approaches, case material and problem solving. Lectures provide students with opportunities to learn relevant content, theoretical approaches, and case material in order to enhance their reflections on the topic and subject matter and independently seek additional readings and other sources. Online materials provide additional information and case studies, relevant to the unit. Online learning activities provide students with opportunities for active participation in learning through discussion and debate, preparing and delivering oral presentations online and raising questions directed to further exploration of topics.

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, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to: essays, reports, examinations, student presentations or case studies.

Assessment tasks for the unit are designed to encourage and contribute to student learning and at the same time to ascertain the success of the learning process. Assessments are designed to meet unit learning outcomes and encourage development of graduate outcomes. A variety of tasks are undertaken by students enrolled in the unit in order to develop skills appropriate to advanced study in sociology and related disciplines. The first assessment requires students to critically analyse social justice campaigns and policy. The second assessment is a research task where students will investigate a topic in more depth. The final assessment will be an evidence-based assignment that explores a social issue and relevant policy approaches.

In order to pass this unit, you are required to achieve a mark of 50% for each of the assessment tasks set for the unit. The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for you to demonstrate your achievement of each learning outcome.

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for you to demonstrate your achievement of each learning outcome

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Critical Analysis

Students will undertake a written project to critically analyse a social justice campaign and/or a recent piece of social policy associated with the new economy using sociological theories and methodologies. 


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6

Assessment Task 2: Written task 

Exploring the sociological frameworks of the new economy and social justice. Students independently formulate a specific research task according to the theoretical, methodological, and ethical conventions of sociology. They will identify different sociological theories that contextualize the new economy, social justice, and policy   and may select from a range of research methods  to critically evaluate the topic. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6

Assessment Task 3: Policy project 

Students will produce a poster/write an essay/ or perform an oral presentation entailing the key dimensions of producing social policy associated with the new economy.   The project will incorporate  empirical evidence. The poster/essay/presentation will display data, key concepts, and policy ideas associated with a social issue and the new economy


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

Bell, D. (2001) The Coming of Post-Industrial Society. Harper Colophon Books

Bhalla, A. S and Frédéric L. (2004) Poverty and Exclusion in a Global World (2nd edition) New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bauman, Z. Work, (2005) Consumption, and the New Poor. Maidenhead. Open University Press

Saunders, P., (2005), Poverty Wars Sydney: University of New South Wales Press Ltd.

Serr, K. (2006b) (ed.) Thinking about Poverty (3rd ed.) Sydney:Federation Press.

Stilwell, F., & Jordan, K. (2007). Who Gets What? Analysing Economic Inequality in Australia. Cambridge University Press. 

Wicks, J. (2005). The Reality of Income Inequality in Australia. Social Policy Issues Paper 1, 2005. St Page 9 of 10 Vincent de Paul Society. Retrieved from

 Wacquant, L (2008) Urban Outcasts. Polity Press

 Wright, E. (1994) Interrogating Inequality: Essays on Class Analysis. Verso Publishing.

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