GSSA 2109EX - Public Scandals & Moral Panics

External - Semester 2 - 2015

Media attention is regularly focused on individuals and/or groups who flout societal norms and/or advocate for change. In this course we explore the way these challenges are framed particularly within mass mediated public discussion and by using a sociological lens (scandal, moral panic, stigma and risk). Case studies include: terrorism, surveillance of civilians, gay marriage, drugs in sport, border protection, climate change, assisted reproduction and the application of gene technology. The course utilises contemporary sociological and gender studies approaches to analyse these and other public issues. In particular students will investigate the ways in which gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity and class are mobilised within morally charged discourses (for example, surrogacy, abortion and same sex parenting) as well as in more objectively based concerns such as global warming. The course provides the opportunity to collaborate in small groups while learning how to apply social theory. Considerable student choice is available for the topic of the research assignment.

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