• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Legal Practice, Diplomacy, Communications, Human Rights
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Matthew Wade
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings
Sociology studies society, and the social relations and experiences that comprise its structure. This involves utilising specific research methods and conceptual frameworks to analyse expressions of power, modes of resistance and dynamics of social change. But it also entails applying knowledge, aptitudes and critical thought derived from this field of study to impact positively on the nature and arrangement of contemporary social life in a global era.  Sociologists are interested in not only interpreting social patterns, but in using this insight to transform society. This is what  doing 'public sociology'  is all about. In this advanced course students will be  introduced to the notions of 'public sociology', 'action research' and 'social movements', and will explore the diverse practices that comprise each of these political and substantive projects. They will be shown the distinct ways in which sociologists have  contributed to public and policy understandings of - and responses to - key social issues such as climate change, poverty, gender relations, crime and security . Students will also be exposed to different sites of sociological engagement such as  education, research, media engagement, employment, policy lobbying, action research, protest, performance and NGO participation and the different tools required to participate in these arenas.  
A key facet of this course is to develop students' comprehension of the professional 'identity' and 'project' of the sociologist, and to provide tangible resources that will enable them to influence specific social matters. The course will encompass a range of activities that explore the concepts of 'impact' and 'empowerment'. It will also equip students with the analytical and practical skills required for engaging meaningfully in the structure and representation of social events.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Recognise the contemporary significance that is applied to 'impact' and 'outreach' in the social sciences and to appreciate the history and diversity of sociological contributions to public affairs.
  2. Understand the meaning, nature, importance and limitations of 'public sociology', 'action research', 'empowerment' and 'social movements' as each concept applies to the task of transforming society and emancipating marginalised groups.
  3. Identify key mediums, tools and opportunities that can be exploited to transform sociological knowledge into meaningful engagement with particular social issues.
  4. Utilise various channels to transmit sociological ideas into the public arena and to evaluate their affect on social perceptions and practices.
  5. Comprehend how sociologists working on contrasting research topics disseminate insights to different stakeholders and audiences thus maintaining the credibility and relevance of the discipline while extending its influence.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial participation (10%) Learning Outcomes 1-5
Précis and Analysis Essay (1500 words, 25%) Learning Outcomes 1-2
Group Project (1500 words, 25%) Learning Outcomes 3-5
Synthesis Examination, 2 hours (held during the formal examination period) (40%) Learning Outcomes 1-5

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 39 hours of contact: 26 hours of workshops and 13 hours of tutorial-like activities.
b) 91 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 2000 level Sociology (SOCY) courses, or with permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

Dan Clawson et al. (2007) Public Sociology: Fifteen Eminent Sociologists Debate Politics and the Profession in the Twenty-First Century, Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press
Schneider, C.J., A. Hanemaayer, M. Burawoy (2014) The Public Sociology Debate: Ethics and Engagement, Vancouver, BC: UBC Press
Agger, B. (2007) Public Sociology: From Social Facts to Literary Acts, Rowman and Littlefield.

Preliminary Reading

Burawoy, M. et al. (2014) 'Precarious Engagements: Combat in the Realm of Public Sociology', Current Sociology Monograph, 62(2), 135-291.

Assumed Knowledge

Students taking this course are expected to have an advanced grasp of introductory sociology (equivalent to SOCY1002 and SOCY1004), sociological research methods (SOCY2038 or SOCY2043) and sociological theory (SOCY2040 or SOCY2161).




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3000
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $4560
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8709 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person N/A

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