ANTH2001 Social Thought

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1AlbanyMulti-mode
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Anthropology and Sociology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
This unit traces the development of major concepts in anthropological and sociological theory from Enlightenment schemas of social evolution to the modernist framework of structuralism. Topics treated may include, among other themes, the notion of the 'primitive', unilinear and multilinear frameworks of societal evolution and their impacts, materialism and idealism in social theory, attitudes toward the position of women in different societies, the rise and demise of varieties of functionalism, debates over the definition of culture, the relationship of anthropology and history, cultural ecology and the reconsideration of Marxist models. Consideration of seminal sociological theorists, such as Marx, Durkheim and Weber, is complemented by examination of key figures in the development of anthropological traditions of enquiry, such as Morgan, Boas, Malinowski, Mead, Levi-Strauss and others. The development of social thought leads into ANTH3402 Contemporary Social Thought.
Students are able to (1) knowledge: demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in anthropology and sociology including cultural diversity, social inequality, the nature of social relationships and institutions, systems of symbolic meaning, and processes that underpin social and cultural change; (2) knowledge: demonstrate knowledge of anthropology and sociology as academic disciplines; an understanding of fundamental ideas underlying all of the social sciences; an understanding of the outlines of the history of social thinking; (3) skill: demonstrate an ability to critically review, analyse, sumarize and synthesise anthropological and sociological research and theory; demonstrate an ability to contrst the approaches of different theorists on similar topics; and contextualize the formation of theories against the socal and political conditions in which they arose; (4) skill: demonstrate an ability to formulate, investigate and discuss anthropologically and sociologically informed research questions and develop arguments based on a critical evaluation of evidence through an examination of how major theorists have undertaken research; and (5) engagement: demonstrate an ability to communicate anthropological and sociological ideas, principles and knowledge to specialist and non-specialist audiences using a range of formats (written, oral, visual etc.).
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation; (2) assignments; and (3) in-class exercise. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Richard Vokes
Unit rules
any Level 1 ANTH unit
ANTH2214 Development of Social Thought
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per teaching week
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.