• Class Number 4273
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Maria Hynes
    • Dr Maria Hynes
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course investigates key contemporary theoretical approaches in Sociology. It exposes students to classical Sociological theories and to more recent theoretical interventions. Students will be introduced to some of Sociology's founding themes and will gain an historical perspective on ideas such as 'society', 'the social', and 'social science'. We will also look at some contemporary characterisations of society as, for example, 'urban' or  'biopolitical', and will consider the question of how sociology today can demonstrate its relevance to the world at large, with a special focus on debates about Public Sociology.

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. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various theoretical approaches
  2. Choose the most appropriate approach for a specific problem
  3. Apply theory as a tool for the investigation of social issues
  4. Develop an appreciation for theoretical pluralism.

Research-Led Teaching

I have an enduring interest in social theory and its capacity to reinflect contemporary problems, which informs my teaching of this course.

Examination Material or equipment

There is no examination for this course.

Required Resources

There are no required resources for this course.

Essential Readings: Below is a list of essential readings that are available via Wattle (full referencing details via wattle):

  • Max Weber, ‘Science as a Vocation’
  • Emile Durkheim, ‘What is a Social Fact?’
  • Peter Sloterdijk, excerpt from Stress and Freedom
  • Hannah Arendt, excerpt from The Human Condition
  • Georg Simmel, ‘Metropolis and Mental Life’
  • Abdou Maliq Simone, ‘City of Potentialities’
  • Frantz Fanon, ‘The Negro and Language’
  • Nick Stevenson, ‘Human Rights and the Cosmpolitan Imagination’
  • Michel Foucault, ‘Society Must be Defended’
  • Nik Rose, ‘The Human Sciences in a Biological Age’
  • Maurizzio Lazzarato, ‘Immaterial Labour’
  • Christina Scharff, ‘The Psychic Life of Neoliberalism’
  • Mariam Fraser, ‘The Sociological Problem’
  • Les Back, ‘Live Sociology’
  • Michael Burawoy, ‘Public Sociology’
  • Maria Hynes, ‘Public Sociology for an Emergent People’

All necessary materials will be available via wattle.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The information provided is a preliminary Class Outline. A finalised version will be available on Wattle and will be accessible after enrolling in this course. All updates, changes and further information will be uploaded on the course Wattle site and will not be updated on Programs and Courses throughout the semester. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Course Convenor.

Referencing requirements: All referencing should be in the Harvard (in-text) style.

Recycling: Material submitted for this course may be incorporated into the assessment for THES410X with proper acknowledgement as outlined in the CASS 2016 Honours guide (p. 11). However, this should be discussed with the course convenor in advance.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction Sociology: The Science of Society
2 The Idea of Society 1: Origins
3 The Idea of Society 2: Society in a Time of Individualism Short Paper 1 due
4 Urban Society
5 Practice Oral Presentations Short Paper 2 due
6 Multicultural Society
7 Biopolitical Society Short Paper 3 due
8 Student Presentations Oral Presentation Due
9 Sociology and the Future Subject
10 Rethinking Sociological Practice
11 Public Sociology in Changing Times (Essay Question available)
12 Consultation NB: Essay is due during the examination period

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short papers 30 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1, 2, 3, 4
Oral Presentation 10 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 1, 2, 3, 4
Essay 60 % 01/01/9999 01/01/9999 ?1, 2, 3, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There is no examination for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Short papers

You will be expected to submit three short papers of 750 words each, to correspond to Learning Outcomes 1 to 4. The aim of the exercises is to encourage you to engage deeply with the readings and to think independently about sociological and specifically theoretical issues.

Papers are staggered throughout the first half of the semester, with an eye to getting students writing early in the course. Students can discuss only one of the readings for a given week or, if there is more than one reading, to put the readings into a dialogue with each other. For example, for week 4, you may choose to discuss Arendt or Sloterdijk, or to discuss them in relation to one another.

You will be expected to engage with the reading(s) by working through a problem of your choice. For example, if you were interested in the piece by Arendt, your question might be something like, ‘What tension does Arendt see between the notion of the political and that of the social?’ Or, you may prefer to engage critically with her work (e.g. ‘How relevant is Arendt’s thesis for us today?). Please ensure that you place the question that you are discussing at the top of the paper.

Feedback on these weekly exercises will be provided within 1 week of submission.

The total of the three exercises is worth 30% of the overall course grade.

We will discuss this assessment task in the first seminar. 

Word limit (where applicable): 750words x 3 papers

Value: 30%

Presentation requirements: While these papers are short, they should be presented in standard essay format, with Introduction, Body and Conclusion.

Estimated return date: Within one week of submission

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Oral Presentation

Oral Presentation of 10 minutes, plus 5 minutes question time, to correspond to Learning Outcomes 1 to 4 (10%)

The presentation should cover the following:

  • An update on the student’s research problem and how it will be addressed, with a focus on its theoretical aspects
  • A consideration of the relationship between theoretical perspectives presented in the course and the theoretical directions taken/to be taken in the thesis. 
  • A consideration of the relationship between the theories that are influencing the thesis to date and the methodological approach employed in the thesis

We will discuss this task in the first seminar and have a practice run in Week 5.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 01/01/9999
Return of Assessment: 01/01/9999
Learning Outcomes: ?1, 2, 3, 4


Essay, to correspond to Learning Outcomes 1 to 4, 5,000 words (60%).

This assessment task will involve responding to a single essay question, which will be given out precisely two weeks before the essay due date. The question will be of a general nature, asking you to reflect on a contemporary problem by drawing on the materials studied in the course. There is no ‘correct’ answer to the question. Rather, you may respond to the question in your own fashion, so long as you draw on a minimum of three readings from the course. We will discuss this task in the first seminar and at the time that the essay question is made available

Word limit (where applicable): 5000 words

Value: 50%

Presentation requirements: The paper should be presented in standard essay format, with Introduction, Body and Conclusion

Estimated return date: Within two weeks of submission

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

No hardcopy submission

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Student work is to be returned via wattle. 

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted in this course. 

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Maria Hynes
6125 8127

Research Interests

Embodiment and Affect, Resistance, Racism and Anti-racism, Art and Innovation, Biopower, Humour, Social Theory

Dr Maria Hynes

Thursday 10:00 12:30
Thursday 10:00 12:30
Dr Maria Hynes

Research Interests

Dr Maria Hynes

Thursday 10:00 12:30
Thursday 10:00 12:30

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