Contemporary Social Problems

Subject 166-525 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2-hour Seminar per week.
Total Time Commitment: 2 contact hours/week , 7 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate certificate/ diploma or fourth-year honours in sociology or criminology, or the Master of Social Policy, or Master of Criminology.
Corequisites: This is a compulsory subject in the Master of Social Policy (100 point program)
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc. Prof. Jens Zinn
Subject Overview: This subject locates contemporary social policy and debates about its future in the context of the social, cultural and political changes associated with globalization. The subject focuses on individualisation, the changing relationship between individual and collective, and the implications for social policy and forms of social solidarity; the changing relationship between state and society; implications of emerging forms of risk, mobility and social diversity for social policy; emerging forms of inequality and social policy; competing moral grammars and changing patterns of citizenship; the implications of increasing social complexity for social policy; the relationship between social policy and international organizations; gender, race and social policy; and different social policy responses to globalization.
  • A knowledge of contemporary social problem;
  • An ability to use theoretical models to consider social processes at work in contemporary social problems;
  • An ability to critically consider the ways social policy constructs our understanding of contemporary social problems;
Assessment: A literature review of 3000 words 30% (due mid-semester) and a research essay of 7000 words 70% (due during the examination period).
Prescribed Texts:
Recommended Texts: Bales, K (1999) Disposable people: New slavery in the Global Economy, Berkeley: University of California Press Bauman, Z (2001) Liquid Modernity, Oxford: Polity Beck, U & Beck-Gernsheim, E (2002) Individualization: institutionalized individualism and its social and political consequences, London: Sage Beck, U (1992) Risk society, London: Sage Beck, U(2000) Brave New World of Work, Polity Press, Cambridge Beck, U (2000) What is globalization?, Cambridge: Polity/Blackwell Castles, S & Davidson, A (2000) Citizenship and migration: globalization and the politics of belonging, Basingstoke: Palgrave Castells, M (1996) The information age; the rise of the network society, Oxford: Blackwell Delanty, G (2000) Citizenship in a global age: Society, culture, politics, Buckingham: Open University Press Edmunds, J & Turner, B (2002) Generations, culture and society, Phildelphia, Pa: Open University Press Esping Anderson, G (1999) Social foundations of Postindustrial Economies, Oxford: Oxford University Press Giddens, A (1998) The third way, Cambridge: Polity Press Giddens, A (2001) The global third way debate, Oxford: Polity Giddens, A (2002) Runaway world, Oxford: Polity Greig, A (et al) (2003) Inequality in Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Hansen, G (2002) The culture of strangers : globalization, localization, and the phenomenon of exchange, Lanham, MD : University Press of America Hobson, B & Lewis, J (2002) Contested concepts in gender and social politics, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2002 Held, D (et al) (1999) Global Transformations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Hobson, B & Lewis, J (2002) Contested concepts in gender and social politics, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2002 Hutten, W & Giddens, A (eds) On the edge: living with global capitalism, London: Jonathon Cape Isin E & Wood, P (1999) Citizenship and Identity, London: Sage Jordan, B (1998) The new politics of welfare : social justice in a global context, London: Sage McDonald, K (1999) Struggles for subjectivity: identity, action and youth experience, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Pahl, R (2000) Friendship, Cambridge: Polity Parker, J (1998) Citizenship, work and welfare: searching for the good society, Houndmills: Macmillan Saunders, P (2002) The Ends and Means of Welfare: Coping with Economic and Social Change in Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Runer, J (2002) Capitalist restructuring, globalisation, and the third way: lessons from the Swedish model, London: Routledge Scholte, J & Schnabel, A (eds) Civil society and global finance, New York: Routledge, 2002 Sykes, R (et al) (2001) Globalization and European welfare states: challenges and change, Basingstoke: Palgrave Turner, B & Rojek, C (2001) Society and culture: principles of scarcity and solidarity, London: Sage Touraine, A (2001) Beyond neoliberalism, Oxford: Polity Press Urry, J (2003) Global complexity, Oxford: Polity Walzer , M (1983) Spheres of justice : a defense of pluralism and equality, New York : Basic Books
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have developed research skills, through the competent use of library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research;
  • have developed an understanding of the social, ethical and cultural contexts of research;
  • have developed critical thinking and analysis skills, through recommended READING, essay writing, and seminar discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;
  • have developed skills in written and oral communication, time management and planning, and group work, through completion of course requirements;
  • have developed the capacity to think in theoretical terms, through class requirements and engagement with theories and methods of the social sciences;
  • have developed the capacity to think creatively, through course work and course discussion, and by critical analysis of competing arguments.

Formerly available as 166-525. Students who have completed 166-525 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

This is a compulsory subject in the Master of Social Policy (100-point program).

Related Course(s): Master of Criminology (CWT)
Master of Social Policy
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Sociology

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