Introduction to Contemporary Society

| March 25, 2014

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Introduction to the Unit
Unit overview
This unit is a core unit and introduces the role and contribution of the social sciences in understanding and working in contemporary society. The unit provides an introduction to the social sciences, its historical foundations and its contemporary applications. Introductory topics addressed in the study of this unit include the role of the media in society, class and status especially in Australian society, power and politics, diversity in gender, ethnicity and religion, globalisation, and the environment. These and other issues in contemporary society are explored through sociological perspectives. This analysis aims to provide the 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 objectives
By the conclusion of this unit, you should be able to:
• describe and discuss the theoretical underpinnings of applied social science
• describe and discuss the role of the social sciences in contemporary society
• survey the historical roots of contemporary society
• explain the impact of socialisation on social roles and values
• explore and discuss contemporary social issues such as gender, status and power
• explore diversity within social environments
• analyse the impact of change, globalisation and environmental concerns in contemporary society
The textbook for this unit is by van Krieken, R., Habibis, D., Smith, P., Hutchins, B., Martin, G., & Maton, K. (2010). Sociology (4th ed.). Sydney, Australia: Pearson Education.
This manual directs you to the relevant chapters of your textbook associated with each section.
Assignment Type: Reflective Essay
Word Count: 1500
You are to write a reflective essay analysing how two agents of socialisation could contribute to a secondary socialisation, including the formation of beliefs, values and social roles. You will reflect and describe how socialisation may have created inherent blind spots and biases in your world view. Reference to sociological literature presented in the unit is required. Select two agents out of the following list.
• school
• clubs/social groups
• cultural background
• work
• media
• government
• religion
• peer groups
Your essay is to address the following:
• Include an introductory paragraph that clearly introduces the two agents you would like to analyse.
• If you select a large agent such as ‘government’ or ‘cultural background’ – you will need to clearly define which part of this agent you will be discussing in this essay. For example – with government you might choose democracy; with cultural background, you might choose ‘close ties with family’.
• Define the key sociological terms used.
• Give a clear analysis of how the selected agents contribute to your socialisation.
? Think about what your relationship is like to these agents.
? What values does each agent (or element of an agent) hold?
? What values do you hold?
? Analyse how your connection with this agent shapes your beliefs, your values, social roles and your identity.
? Discuss any potential ‘blind spots’ in your socialisation.
? For example, your socialisation may have encouraged you to value individualism. How might the values associated with individualism come into conflict with a more ‘collectivist’ viewpoint?
• Refer to relevant academic literature such as textbooks, books and academic journals (at least four) to support your insights and arguments.
• Include a conclusion that summarises the key points of the essay.
vii Marking Criteria – Reflective Essay
Not Satisfactory Satisfactory Good Very good Outstanding
1. Two agents clearly identified and defined
2. Key sociological terms defined
3. Clear analysis of how the agents have contributed to aspects of your socialisation
4. Discussion on potential ‘blind spots’ in your socialisation
5. Familiarity with relevant literature is evidenced by at least four academic references
6. Appropriate introduction provided that clearly articulates the topic
7. Main ideas clearly and logically presented
8. Appropriate conclusion provided that summarises the key findings/ideas
9. Relevant literature used properly
Written Expression
10. First person writing style used
11. Fluent writing style used with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation
12. Presentation guidelines followed as specified in the Student Learning Support website
13. Word count within 10% of requirement
14. In-text referencing follows APA referencing style (6th ed.) as set out in the Referencing section of the Student Learning Support website
15. List of references provided as outlined in the Student Learning Support website
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