SOCI 2009 - Sociological Theory in Action

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This course introduces students to the ways that social scientists explain (theorise) the social world. We use a range of contemporary critical social theories to understand and explain current local and global issues (for example, urban graffiti, youth suicide, childhood obesity, politics of space and place, and commodification of sex). The teaching environment uses fieldtrips, interactive problem based activities and e-learning strategies to ground theoretical concepts in everyday life. This course attracts students from different disciplinary backgrounds and builds knowledge, skill development and professional practice.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code SOCI 2009
    Course Sociological Theory in Action
    Coordinating Unit Gender Studies and Social Analysis
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Incompatible GSSA 2020
    Course Description This course introduces students to the ways that social scientists explain (theorise) the social world. We use a range of contemporary critical social theories to understand and explain current local and global issues (for example, urban graffiti, youth suicide, childhood obesity, politics of space and place, and commodification of sex). The teaching environment uses fieldtrips, interactive problem based activities and e-learning strategies to ground theoretical concepts in everyday life. This course attracts students from different disciplinary backgrounds and builds knowledge, skill development and professional practice.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Nathan Manning

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Understand social theory, critical reading and analytical writing
    2 Be able to locate, access and evaluate a range of resources available to support critical research and writing
    3 Apply social theory to critical discussions relating to society on a local and global scale
    4 Be able to confidently engage with social theory in the real world
    5 Demonstrate a critical approach to ethical issues in the context of public discourses about contemporary issues and debates
    6 Be able to prepare and deliver coherent and logically argued written texts
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Readings can be accessed electronically through MyUni. 
    Recommended Resources
    Other Useful Books and Resources:

    Anderson, N. & Schlunke, K. (2008) Cultural theory in Everyday Practice Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Best, S. (2003) A Beginner’s Guide to Social Theory, London: Sage
    Connell, R. (2007) Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
    Germov, J & Poole, M. (2007). eds.Public sociology: An introduction to Australian society. Allen & Unwin.
    Jones P, Bradbury L and S Boutillier (2011) Introducing Social Theory (2nd Ed). Cambridge: Polity
    Inglis D (2012) An Invitation to Social Theory Cambridge: Polity.
    Seidman, S. (2008) Contested Knowledge: Social Theory Today Fourth Edition Oxford: Blackwell.
    Sim S,Van Loon S & D Cryan (2009) Introducing Critical Theory : A Graphic Guide London: Icon Books. Avaialble on-line:
    Elliot, A. (2009) Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction. London: Routledge.
    Turner, B. (2000) The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory. Oxford: Wiley: Blackwell.
    Crotty,M. (2003) The Foundations of Social Research: Meaning and Perspective in the Research Process. St Leonards, NSW : Allen & Unwin [available as e-link via the BSL]
    Harrington, A. (2005) Modern Social Theory: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. 
    Online Learning
    Lecture podcasts, handouts, essay questions, links and updates about contemporary issues and further reading will be posted to the MyUni course site available via the MyUni link on University Web page at
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is designed to develop a student-centred approach to the learning environment and create a critical thinking ethos. You will see this style of learning in the presentation of material, the ways in which you are asked to read and engage with spaces, and most importantly, your own engagement with the development of your assignments. This may sound overwhelming at first, as it is quite different to being given set essay questions. We have three field trips in this course which will create opportunities for you to connect with and make sense of your learning. Your fieldwork experiences work as the basis for developing understandings of conceptual and theoretical issues, and you will develop these into theoretical essays. We provide guidance with how to plan and structure your assignments, but the content and application of theory is in your hands. We believe that this personal integration of knowledge and its connection with broader social theory frameworks allows you to drive the analysis, and is at the heart of the best assessment practices.

    Working collaboratively is also an important part of this course and it is expected that you will have read and taken notes on the set texts, and prepared for weekly tasks. We have in-class exercises that will help you understand the readings, and provide spaces and opportunities for you to discuss ideas, raise questions and learn from each other.

    As social theory can sometimes seem ‘abstract’ we will also have the familiar lectures and seminars to facilitate your learning. Lectures will introduce new theoretical ideas in historical and contemporary contexts, highlighting the uses and relevance of social theory to contemporary issues of understanding social structures, relations and praxis. We will emphasize critical dialogue, problem-posing and the sociological imagination.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    1 x 3-hour seminar (or equivalent) per week 36 hours per semester
    3 x 3-hour fieldwork excursions 9 hours per semester
    5 hours reading per week 60 hours per semester
    2 hours research per week 24 hours per semester
    2 hours assignment preparation per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 3-hour take home paper 3 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    Introduction to the course

    Agency and structure


    Field trip

    Disciplinary society – Foucault meets Jamie Oliver

    The modern city, space and gender

    Field trip

    Risk culture and everyday resistance

    Theorising consumption and cosmopolitan desire Field trip

    Preparing for take-home paper
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Group activities will take place in workshop time.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome
    Small group activities (online and in class) Formative and Summative 30% 1-7
    2 x 1000 word fieldwork assignments Formative and Summative 30% 1-7
    1500 word take home paper Formative and Summative 40% 1-7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    All students are required to complete all assessment tasks to be eligible to pass this course. 
    Assessment Detail
    Conduct of Classes The following principles of conduct for staff and students have been adopted by the Gender Studies and Social Analysis discipline.

    Active and appropriate participation; based on preparation for the lectures and seminars. You should try to make your own contributions succinct and pertinent to the seminar activities for that week; try to speak neither too much or not at all (the 'object is dialogue not monologue'); try to build on and/or respond to the contributions of others.

    Valuing diversity of experiences and contribution of other students – listening attentively to the contributions of others, considering how you frame your own responses, especially if they are critical (comment on aspects of the argument and do not criticise the characteristics of the person), and employ self-critique (use the contributions of others to ask questions about your own perspectives and assumptions).

    Consultative decision-making, particularly in relation to changes in subject content and assessment from those described in the study guide. 
    Your assignments in this course must be submitted ONLINE via the relevant MyUni course site (under the Assignment tab). 
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.