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SOCI403 Micro-Sociology

Focuses on the specific interface between the individual’s experience of contemporary society and the theoretical concepts of post-modernism and post-structuralism.

SOCI 403 is intended as the logical conclusion of the micro-sociology stream. The paper will build on ideas presented in SOCI 213 and SOCI 313, but is also intended as a stand-alone paper for students who have not completed those earlier papers. The theoretical approach in this paper will focus on the specific interface between the individual's experience of contemporary society on the one hand and the theoretical concepts of post-modernism/post-structuralism on the other hand. By situating SOCI 403 at this interface, it is intended that students will question the degree of agency individuals can experience in the face of forces for social conformity. With this in mind, the theory introduced will concentrate on the degree to which agency might be possible given the forces ranged against it.

Virtual worlds will be used as cases to analyse an apparent paradoxical adherence to both individuality and conformity to socially generated ideals. To facilitate the development of thoroughgoing critical analysis, students will examine these ideas within specific socio-cultural contexts. Students will explore virtual reality/virtual world contexts with the intention of using these as a window to contemporary social issues surrounding agency and identity.

The theoretical content of SOCI 403 will be taught using three themes, each of which provides a different perspective on self and identity. The themes are: subaltern identity/identities, the self vs ideology and hegemony, and gendered subjectivity/subjectivities in cyberspace and out of it. In the second half of the year student seminars will develop these three themes and address the application of the theoretical perspectives to the students' chosen case studies.

Paper title Micro-Sociology
Paper code SOCI403
Subject Sociology
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,206.91
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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72 300-level SOCI points
Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Lesley Procter

Paper Structure
This paper is 100% internally assessed.
Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will have achieved the following learning outcomes:
  • A critical analysis of the tensions between society and the individual
  • An awareness of the specific and varied socio-cultural features of contemporary society
  • An understanding of the experiential consequences of Western society's adherence to notions of free will and discourses of conformity
SOCI 403 students will acquire the following habits of lifelong learning:
  • An ability to situate socio-cultural phenomena within an appropriate range of contexts
  • A willingness to integrate theoretical constructs and personal experience of the socio-cultural milieu in which one is situated
  • Habits of independent, versatile thought
SOCI 403 will provide students with opportunities to acquire the following specific and generic skills:
  • Critical thinking skills
  • The ability to communicate information and concepts effectively both orally and in written forms
  • Research skills in both traditional and technological contexts
Assessment in this paper is specifically tied to the ANZIIL Information Literacy Standards at both a conceptual and practical level. Successful completion of SOCI 403 will mean that students have met these standards to an advanced level.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 10:00-11:50 9-14, 16, 18-22