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GEOG381 Social Geography

Geographical aspects of major social issues facing modern Western society.

This course explores how inequalities are reproduced in societies, and how they are contested by groups and individuals. It is vital to understand how inequalities are reproduced in societies in order to inform effective policy-making to create change towards a more equal world.

This course will equip you with analytical skills to explore and understand inequalities with a view to creating more equal futures.

Paper title Social Geography
Paper code GEOG381
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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GEOG 102 or 108 points
GEOG 210
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science

The content of the paper assumes that students have undertaken at least one introductory paper in Human Geography or related subject.

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Christina Ergler

Paper Structure

GEOG 381 has three interconnected parts:

  • Part I situates social geography within the discipline of Geography
  • Part II explores axes of difference as intersecting categories of inequality (class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity, age and abilities)
  • Part III explores how individuals and groups negotiate identity and power, digitalisation, mobilities and care

Assessment is 60% internal (on-going during the semester) and 40% external (final examination).

Teaching Arrangements

Two lectures per week and ten 50-minute tutorials scheduled over the 13 weeks of semester.


Recommended: Panelli, R. (2004) Social Geographies: From Difference to Action. London: Sage.

NOTE: The first few weeks of the paper draws extensively on this text. You do not have to purchase it, but if you wish to, it is available at the University Bookshop. An eBook and hard copies of the book are available on reserve at Central Library.

Additional readings from a range of sources will also be prescribed and made available on eReserve.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

This paper is organised to achieve two objectives, namely:

  • To explore and analyse different approaches social geographers use to explain social difference
  • Apply theories of power, identity and social justice to contemporary everyday social geographies

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Understand the theoretical traditions of social geographic thought
  • Understand the major debates and concepts in contemporary social geography
  • Be able to apply an appropriate theoretical approach to a real-world problem in social geography
  • Demonstrate how social geography intersects with everyday life and in particular how social processes as well as individual experiences shape people's wellbeing within and across different scales, spaces and places

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system