Theories of Contemporary Society

Master Course Unit

SOSC6011 Theories of Contemporary Society

Level: Masters

Credit points: 4

Prerequisites: none

Unit description

This unit provides a broad introduction to theories of contemporary society. It will examine at least four major themes within such theories, which constitute four recent attempts in the social sciences and the humanities to identify and name key dimensions of a rapidly changing world and rapidly changing national societies. These themes are: Globalisation; The ascendancy of neoliberal public philosophy and public policy; Postmodernity; Late or Advanced Capitalism.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • identify, compare and contrast different approaches to social analysis
  • distinguish between different conceptual discourses in a variety of media
  • recognise personal perceptual frameworks
  • apply social theory to enhance capacity for critical analysis of own social context

Unit content

  • Critical Thinking
  • Imagining Society
  • From Pre-Industrial to Postmodern Society
  • States and the Market Economy
  • Globalisation
  • Consumer Capitalism and Individualism
  • Media, Popular Culture and the Networked Society
  • The State and Civil Society
  • The End of the Welfare State?
  • The Changing World of Paid Work
  • The Organisational Environment in its Contemporary Social Context
  • Future Trends

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 13 hours per week.

Assignment summary



Word count


Academic Essay




Reflective Essay




Graduate attributes

The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:

  • Creative self-expression
  • Reasoned criticism
  • Multiple research methodologies
  • Complex data acquisition techniques and analysis
  • Written expression and reasoned argument from empirical data
  • Evaluating possible outcomes of alternative courses of action

Recommended text

Harrington, A. (Ed.). (2005). Modern social theory: An introduction. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Relevant journals

American Journal of Economics and Sociology
Australian Journal of Social Issues
Family Matters
Harvard Business Review
International Journal of Information Ethics
International Journal on Multicultural Societies
Journal of Policy Modelling
Journal of Social Issues
Journal of Socio-Economics
New Community Quarterly
Public Opinion Quarterly
Social Analysis
Social Development
Social Forces

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the semester.