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SOCI207 Families and Society

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.

Paper title Families and Society
Paper code SOCI207
Subject Sociology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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(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

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Wednesday 13:00-14:50 29-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 29-34, 36-41
T2 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 29-34, 36-41
T3 Thursday 10:00-10:50 29-34, 36-41
T4 Thursday 11:00-11:50 29-34, 36-41