Theories of Modernity - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem1
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 - Writing Exercise 1 (20%) , Assignment 2 - Writing Exercise 2 (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit was previously known as SGYX222 Sociological Theories of Modernity.

What characterises modern societies? This course is an invitation to get to know some of the great theorists in Sociology and to learn what they have to say about modernity and modern societies.  It explores the bold character of Sociology as it struggles to make sense of the modern world.

Modernity is characterised by a number of specific developments like democracy, capitalism, industrialism, nationalism, individualism and bureaucratisation. These are partly antagonistic, partly complementary, tendencies. In this unit we will be examining these diverse trends through the prism of a range of theories of modern society. We consider from among the following: Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Durkheim, The Frankfurt School and Foucault. None we suggest has the key but we hope also to put each to use to find a matrix of illuminations into tendencies and potentials.

One of the core units in our undergraduate program, SOCX222 is designed to help you grapple with some of the major theoretical tributaries of the discipline. It reconstructs some of the main episodes in sociology’s efforts to achieve an understanding of the distinctive character and likely prospects of modern societies. SOCX222 traces the different ways in which some major theorists of modernity have analysed intersecting axes of modern development.  The unit will demonstrate how much we still owe to these thinkers as well as considering their respective shortcomings.

By the end of this unit it is anticipated you should be able to:

  1. identify the distinguishing figures, topics and texts of Social Theory and Sociology as a field of study and investigate its points of connection and disconnection in contemporary society
  2. explain the origin, characteristics and complexity of modern societies
  3. articulate a coherent, developed account of what it means to live in modern societies
  4. analyse and assess a variety of texts (print, oral, film, multimedia) and data sources critically within their historical, social and discursive contexts.
  • Assignment 1 — Writing Exercise 1 (20%)
  • Assignment 2 — Writing Exercise 2 (30%)
  • Assignment 3 — Writing Exercise 3 (30%)
  • Participation (20%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • SGYX222 — Sociological Theories of Modernity

Recommended prerequisites

You are recommended to have completed the following unit(s) or have equivalent knowledge before starting this unit:

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Sociology and Modernity
2Capitalism and Industrialisation
3Democracy and Equality
4Political Power and Bureaucracy
5Religions and Belief Systems
6Science and Technology

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • E-Portfolios
  • Embedded Multimedia
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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