SOCI201-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Social Theory for Contemporary Life

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


This course engages with a range of classical and contemporary social theories dealing with the complexity of the social and everyday life. Even though social theories aim to provide a general interpretation of the social forces that have shaped the modern, contemporary world; we use them every day in informal ways. This course focuses on how social theorists have set out to make sense of the world. Students will be introduced to a selection of theorists and perspectives in an approachable manner and use material that is relevant to our contemporary social world. This course is compulsory for the Sociology major.

Soci 201 Social theory for contemporary life is a required course in the Sociology Major.  The theme of this course is “what is society?”  The course introduces you to a selection of sociological theorists and their attempts to answer – or not answer- this question.   The material spans three centuries (that’s how long sociology has been around!). This course focuses on how social theorists have set out to make sense of the world. Students will be introduced to a selection of theorists and perspectives in an approachable manner and use material that is relevant to our contemporary social world.
Soci 201 and Sociology’s “four pillars”.
Four pillars underpin and synthesis all the teaching in the sociology curriculum. They are pillar one: Theory and Investigation; pillar two: Bodies, technologies and identities; pillar three:  Time and Place;  pillar four:  Controversies and Control.  In achieving competency in the four identified areas, a firm grounding in the key domains of sociology will be achieved by graduating students.
Social Theory for Contemporary life comes under pillar one, theory and investigation.  Learning the fundamentals of sociological theory is essential to the discipline and central to any degree in sociology and social science in general. In providing an overview of the development of social theory across three centuries it also contributes to pillar three, Time and Place. In terms of Sociology’s Graduate profile, it directly connects to learning outcome 1: developing skills in critical enquiry & 2 developing skills in analysis.  It more generally meets other teaching objectives 3: developing research skills and 6: developing skills in writing and scholarship. Soci 201 therefore makes a core contribution the graduate profile Graduate Profile

Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • Negotiate between the different arguments proposed by social theorists.
  • Engage in reflexive thinking about theorizing and the discipline of sociology.
  • Understand the relevance of contemporary social theory for substantive problems of social and political analysis.
  • Possess an understanding of the historical development of social theory, from the 19th century to the 21st century.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 15 points at 100 level from ANTH or SOCI, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


SOCI301, SOCI393 (2013).

Course Coordinator

Ruth McManus


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Tutorial attendance 10% Weekly through semester - 1% per tutorial
Lectorial Attendance and participation 10%
Online quizzes 25% 5 x online quizzes through the semester
Assignment 1 Concept Exercise 25% 1250 words
Assignment 2 Essay 30% 2500 words

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Seidman, Steven; Contested knowledge : social theory today ; 4th ed; Blackwell Pub, 2008.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All SOCI201 Occurrences

  • SOCI201-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023