Prerequisites: none

Semester 1

Introduction to Sociology

Who are we? Why do we live our lives in this way?

Sociology is a way of thinking about the world that challenges common sense understandings about modern societies and cultures. Why does social inequality exist? Where do people find meaning in their lives? How does social change occur? In this subject, students are introduced to theories and methods that offer new ways of developing the answers to these and other questions. This subject addresses La Trobe’s Global Citizenship Essential, which entails deep appreciation of how we live in an interconnected world, being able to recognize and act across cultures and boundaries, and to work with diverse communities.


Sociology – What for?; The Sociological Imagination; Class and Status; Gender and Sexuality; Identities and Diversity; Age and Life Course; Culture; Inequality; Work.

Duration: weekly

  • 2 hour online module
  • 1 hour tutorial blended mode

Semester 2

From prisons to detention centres: interrogating containment

Where did the modern prison and detention centre come from?

You will explore how present detainment practices are part of a long tradition that includes workhouses, leper colonies, mental health facilities, indigenous missions, migration centres, and internment, prisoner of war and concentration camps. You will investigate how past practices of incarceration and containment have emerged to define and shape relationships within and between communities. You will examine how containment has been used and justified as a response to social problems and political conflicts and as a means of dealing with people associated with them, and consider the implications of detainment for human rights, citizenship and community well‑being.

Duration: weekly

  • 1 hour lecture and 1 hour evidence based learning (both available online)
  • ten 1.5 hour workshops on campus across semester