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SWSP1053 Introduction to Contemporary Society

Level: Bachelor
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: None
Mode(s) of Delivery: Online
Core/Elective: Core

Unit Description

The unit provides an introduction to the social and human sciences, their historical foundations and their role in understanding and working in contemporary society. Concepts studied in this unit to understand social inequality are structural theories about gender, class, diversity, politico-economic systems, social institutions, culture, colonisation, globalisation, neoliberalism and (post)modernity. Students will also explore postmodern concepts of human agency, lived experience, identity, knowledge, self and subjectivity. This analysis aims to provide students with an appreciation of the role of the social sciences in understanding contemporary society, but even more importantly it establishes a foundational framework through which the analysis of contemporary social issues takes place. 

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is nine hours per week. This included twelve weeks of three hours of class time on Zoom. One hour will be didactive material delivered in lecture format. Two hours will be interactive class time, for discussion of the lecture, readings, assessments and class activities. Material will be available in the online class space. In addition to the 3 hours of class time, students are expected to engage in 6 hours of private study per week.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Define and apply key sociological concepts to contemporary social issues
  2. Analyse the influence of socialisation on social roles, beliefs and values
  3. Discuss and apply sociological concepts, including: gender; class; status; power; structure and agency; and analyse how these contribute to social inequality
  4. Explore diversity within social environments and analyse historical patterns of social inequalities
  5. Describe and discuss the roles of the social sciences in contemporary society

Learning and Teaching Process

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.


Recommended Texts

  • Germov, J., & Poole, M. (2015). Public sociology: an introduction to Australian society (3rd edition.). Allen & Unwin.


  • Australian Social Work
  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)

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 the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


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 trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.