Is Australia an egalitarian society?
Is Australia an egalitarian society? Your answer should analyse Marx OR Weber OR Bourdieu’s description of the order of society. Use this to explore either leisure and sport, work or media and popular culture.
The multiple choice quiz will include 26 questions taken at random from presented material (lectures
and module content) as well as the text book. Only material covered in Weeks 1 – 3 will be covered.
Each correct answer will attract 1 mark and so the total possible marks will be 25. By giving you 26
questions but only marking you out of 25, you can get one wrong and still do very well in this test.
Due dates: there are several days in which to complete the test. The test will be available at 9am on
March 19 and closes at 11.59pm on March 23. You will need to set aside a quite space and allow 2
hours to complete the test. We do not expect you will need all 2 hours. You will only be able to
access and complete the test once. If there is an error in the system, please contact your subject
coordinator so they can make arrangements for you to take the quiz at another time during the 5 days
the test is available. Please check the extensions policy for information about how to get an extension
Charles Sturt University Subject Outline
if you are unable to complete the test during the 5 days available. Make sure you keep your subject
coordinator informed if something goes wrong.
This test is designed to test your knowledge of key theory and concepts addressed. Examples used in
the process of explaining and exploring these theories and concepts will NOT be assessed. You will
need to know the theory or concept in broad terms, the author to which the theory or concept is
attributed, and some details of the way in which the theory or concept has been described.
Why do a test?
At this point in your learning about sociology some core theories and concepts need to be known in
order for the rest of the subject to make sense. Sociologists use theories and concepts in order to be
able to interpret what is happening in the social world. By testing your knowledge of key theories and
concepts, we hope to give you a sense of your understanding and knowledge of these base ideas, and
which you need to work more on in order to progress in the subject. Other assessment and content in
this subject from this point onwards will assume you know these and core concepts and theories.
Write an essay of 850 words which answers the following question:
Are you an autonomous free agent or are you conditioned and constrained by society? (hint: structure
vs agency debate).
When answering this question in your essay make sure you include the following elements:-
1. A description of one sociological theory on structure and agency. For example, you might
consider Gidden’s structuration theory or Durkheim on the collective consciousness and its
relationship to conscience, or Weber on religion and capitalism and the structure and function of
2. A real world example supported by data, statistics or qualitative research that provides
evidence of your argument. For example, if you say that you are an autonomous free agent more so
than someone influenced by social structures, then you need to provide evidence to support that view.
That is, evidence that you are shielded in some way from society’s influence on shaping you which
occurs via the education system, legal system, healthcare system, media system (including social
media), economic system (eg capitalism, consumerism, marketing), culture. Likewise, if you were to
argue that you are more so a product of structure, you need to use evidence to support your argument.
For example, you may say that until recently, society dictated what love was to the extent that
homosexual love was not valued the same way as heterosexual love in law. The illegality of gay
marriage before late- 2017 is evidence of the impact of the legal system (social structure) shaping the
lives of individuals by limiting their autonomy to marry whomever they choose.
3. A brief reflection on how studying sociology has improved your understanding of the
structure/agency concept by providing an example of where you have become aware of the limits
of your own agency and whether or not you think that restrictions on your agency is a
good/necessary thing for society as a collective or whether more individual freedom is necessary
for a better society.
Charles Sturt University Subject Outline
SOC101 201830 W D-10 February 2018-Version 1 Page 8 of 16
4. An answer to this question: When do societal constraints on individual freedom become a bad
5. Your essay must be well researched (i.e. you should consult 4-6 academic sources). You can use
some of the subject materials as references to support your essay, but remember that one of the
purposes of an essay is for you to read widely and show your ability to select material judiciously. You
should go beyond the textbook (but, at the same time, don’t ignore the textbook), and gather material
from resources on Interact, Google Scholar or the University Library in your search for references. DO
NOT USE WIKIPEDIA AS A REFERENCE.
6. Your essay must be written logically, coherently and in formal academic language. Pay
particular attention to spelling and grammar.
Other things to think about:
You can use the Forum or your tutorial to raise any ideas you like and to discuss ways in which you
might approach the essay. However, the essay you submit must be your own work. Please contact the
subject coordinator and familiarise yourself with the University’s plagiarism guidelines if you are
uncertain of anything in this regard.
Remember that the subject coordinator is available to discuss essay ideas and the University’s
Learning Skills Advisers (ALLaN) are available to help with writing technique. Remember, too, that
the ALLaN advisors are running online essay writing workshops during the third week of session. If
you attend the workshops and work carefully through the essay writing module content you will be
very well prepared for the assignments.
Why do an essay?
The pedagogical rationale for requiring students to complete an essay is that it offers an opportunity
for the student to learn and practice reading, writing and thinking widely and critically about a
particular topic. It also offers students an opportunity to demonstrate that they have a broad
understanding of a topic, that their understanding of a position is supported by evidence that is
demonstrated via appropriate references, and that students can put together a coherent, thoughtful and
well written response to a question.
As an assessment method, an essay allows the teacher the opportunity to analyse the student’s ability
to read, write and think widely and critically about a particular topic. As a formative assessment it
allows the teacher an opportunity to give directed feedback to the student on areas of strength and
areas of weakness that the student can use to guide their future learning.
This assessment will allow you to demonstrate that you have achieved the subject’s key learning
objectives which include:-
*an understanding of basic concepts and research tools used by sociologists and social scientists in
general – by reading widely and relying on appropriate evidence to inform a position;
*an understanding of the sociological analysis of social and cultural issues and moral endeavour – this
requires students to address the key conceptual areas of sociology and how this applies and what
it means for society and individuals members of society.
*a critical understanding of how society and social institutions operate – this refers to the student’s
ability to critique the broader world around them and the structure of the society we live in, including
social institutions. In this essay students are critiquing the institution of the State and State power. The
student should use the sociological imagination as a lens through which to view the world and rely on
evidence to challenge the status quo and critique the structure and institutions that exist in our society;
*an ability to evaluate contemporary issues and problems from a sociological perspective -this refers
to the student’s ability to use sociological imagination as a lens through which to view the modern
Charles Sturt University Subject Outline
SOC101 201830 W D-10 February 2018-Version 1 Page 9 of 16
world, to find examples of contemporary issues and problems and then to critique, analyse and make
recommendations for future change.
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