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Sociological Perspectives

2014 unit code: SOC20004 (formerly LSS201)

Please note that unit codes have changed from 2014.
Credit points12.5 Credit Points

One Semester

Contact hours36 hours over the teaching period (normally 3 hours per week)

Any two sociology units or LSS102 Explorations in Sociology

Related course(s)

*From July, 2013 this unit will be taught at the Hawthorn Campus
NB: From Semester 1 2014, this unit will not be available and will be replaced by HAS201 Sociological Perspectives

Aims and objectives

This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of sociological theories and different forms of sociological explanation. It explores both historical and current traditions in sociology using contemporary case studies to ground sociological theories and concepts. The objective is for students to examine how differing sociological perspectives may inform or support practical outcomes, for example, formulating social policy and conducting sociological research. They also consider how values and ethics are implicated in social research, for example, in the choice of research problem and the outcomes; and in formulation of social policy.

Teaching methods

Units will be taught in a variety of modes including face to face, online, distance and blended modes. Delivery of this unit may be through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, laboratories, seminars and online.


Written assignments 25 - 35%
Tutorial paper 15-25%
Examination 35 -45%

Generic skills outcomes

LSS201 Sociological Perspectives will provide discipline-based knowledge and professional capabilities and experiences contributing to students’ progress in attaining skills such as:
• team working capacities developed via collaborative activities in tutorials
• communicating and negotiating on a plurality of views on complex social issues to support managing diversity constructively
• tackling unfamiliar problems and applying contrasting perspectives to real world social issues
• working independently on challenging assignments requiring research capabilities and critical thinking
• applying conceptual frameworks to evaluate current social and organisational issues; social policy formulation, and the role of values on decision making


Topics and themes may include:
• The contribution of the Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment to the development of nineteenth and twentieth century sociological thought
• Changing Worldviews from the Middle Ages to Modernism and beyond
• The ideas of classical sociological theorists, such as Comte, Marx, Durkheim and Weber
• Contemporary sociological perspectives including Symbolic Interactionism, Structuration, Feminism and Postmodernism
• Recent challenges from post modernism to sociological paradigms of inquiry

Reading materials

Ashley, D. & Orenstein, D. 2001, Sociological theory: classical statements, Allyn and Bacon, Massachusetts.

Best, S. 2003, A beginner's guide to social theory, Sage, London.

Farganis, J. (Ed.) 2008, Readings in social theory, 5th edn, McGraw Hill, Boston.

Ritzer, G 1997, Postmodern social theory, McGraw Hill, New York.

Wallace, R. & Wolf, A 2006, Contemporary sociological theory: expanding the classical tradition, 6th edn, Pearson Education, New Jersey.

Zeitlin, I. 2001, Ideology and the development of sociological theory, 7th edn, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Text books

 Ritzer, G. 2011, Sociological Theory, 8th edn. McGraw Hill, New York.