• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Areas of interest Sociology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online

The course will critically examine the sociological theories of Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, along with other pertinent figures. Two major foci are: (i) the study of primary texts and (ii) the introduction of the dynamically hybrid and contested traditions that are associated with these thinkers. The social and intellectual contexts of these 'classical' yet hybrid sociological traditions will be introduced, including their evident influence on contemporary sociology.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. comprehend and evaluate relevant primary texts;
  2. analyse and interpret complex social theories;
  3. understand the hybrid and contested legacies of social theoretical traditions and related debates;
  4. apply relevant concepts and methods embedded within these intellectual traditions to contemporary social issues; and
  5. communicate such analysis, interpretation and understanding in both oral and written forms of argument.

Other Information

Lectures and Tutorials commence Week 1.

Relevant Journals include: Journal of Classical Sociology; European Journal of Social Theory.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Short essay (2000 words) (40) [LO 1,3,5]
  2. Research essay (2500 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Tutorial participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and, b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 units of 1000 level Sociology (SOCY) courses; or permission of the convener.

Prescribed Texts

Required weekly readings (as well as recommended secondary readings) are made available via Wattle links to a library ebrick and reserve collection.

Preliminary Reading


Veblen, T. B. 1964. The Economic Theory of Woman's Dress. (1894). In: Ardzrooni, L. (ed.) Essays in Our Changing Order. N.Y.: Kelley.

Marx, K. 1973. Articles on the North American Civil War (1861). In: Fernbach, D. (ed.) Karl Marx Surveys from Exile: Political Writings Vol 2. London: Penguin Books.

Weber, M. (1968) Charisma and Institutionalization in the Political Sphere (selections). In: Eisenstadt, S. N. (ed.) On Charisma and Institution Building. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Habermas, J. (1989/1962) The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: an inquiry into a category of bourgeois society (Ch 2 ‘Social Structures of the Public Sphere’), MIT Press.

Fraser, Nancy (1990) Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Social Text, 56-80.

Gilroy, Paul. (1993)The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Harvard UP.

Durkheim, É. (1995). The Elementary Forms of Religious life (1912). New York: Free Press.


Giddens, A. 1971. Capitalism and modern social theory: An analysis of the writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber. Cambridge University Press.

Law, A. (2011). Key concepts in classical social theory. Sage.

Go, Julian. (2016) Postcolonial Thought and Social Theory. Oxford UP.

Alexander, J. C. (1996). The Centrality of the Classics. In S. P. Turner (Ed.), Social theory and Sociology: the classics and beyond. Blackwell.

McDonald, L. (1997) Classical social theory with the women founders included. In: Camic, C. (ed.) Reclaiming the Sociological Classics. Blackwell.

Baehr, P. R. (2002) Founders, Classics, Canons : Modern Disputes over the Origins and Appraisal of Sociology's Heritage. Transaction Publishers.

Rose, Gillian. (1995) Love's Work: A Reckoning with Life. Chatto & Windus.




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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
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.

There are no current offerings for this course.

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions