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    The form and function of families, and major issues and forces shaping families in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

    This paper introduces key ideas and concepts about the family, as well as considering how issues like poverty and disability impact upon the family. This paper will help students consider multiple perspectives on the family; engage in key debates about the family and its construction; and reflect on their own personal experiences and reactions to the family in all its forms in the broader structural contexts of Aotearoa/New Zealand society.

    About this paper

    Paper title Families and Society
    Subject Sociology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    (SOCI 101 or SOCI 102 or SOCI 103) or 54 points
    SOWK 233, SOWX 233
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Available to students in Sociology, Gender Studies and Criminology who meet the prerequisites.
    Compulsory for Social Work students.


    Teaching staff

    Co-ordinator and Lecturer: Professor Anita Gibbs

    Paper Structure
    Key topics will include:
    • Historical perspectives on the family
    • Theories of family
    • Multiple answers to the question, 'What is family?'
    • Family policy and the 'politics' of the family
    • Roles, functions and forms of family
    • Family belief systems
    • Disability and families
    • Gender, ethnicity and class perspectives on family
    • Parenting, children and families
    Teaching Arrangements
    On-campus weekly lectures and tutorials over one semester.

    Guest speakers will offer additional input.
    Textbooks are not required for this paper, but readings will be listed in study outlines and will be available on Blackboard.
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Research, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:

    • Critically evaluate knowledge and theory about families and the structure and history of 'the family' with relevance to contemporary Aotearoa/New Zealand
    • Demonstrate an awareness of the forces shaping the contemporary context of family life, including an exploration of intersecting issues of gender, power, ethnicity and class
    • Debate and engage in issues regarding families and society


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    L1 Wednesday 13:00-14:50 30-35, 37-42


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    T1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 30-35, 37-42
    T2 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 30-35, 37-42
    T3 Thursday 10:00-10:50 30-35, 37-42
    T4 Thursday 11:00-11:50 30-35, 37-42
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