Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


1000 level

Course handbook


Students will be introduced to the study of religion as an aspect of social structure and social change. The course will examine sociological approaches to systems of belief based on classical and post-modern theorists and define the basic concepts which underpin contemporary debates about the role of religion in society.



  • Winter - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of key debates and the range of sociological approaches to religion and belief in modern Australian society.

2. Critically apply key concepts to contemporary debates about the role of religion in the contemporary global world.

3. Effectively communicate understandings of key concepts in written forms by employing analytical skills.


Definition of 'religion' from a sociological perspective:

  • Varieties of religions and other faith systems
  • Secularisation thesis
  • Religion and post-modernity
  • Religion and social structure
  • Religion and social change.

Theories about the relationship between religion and society:

  • Marx and the oppression of the proletariat
  • Weber and the Protestant Ethic
  • Durkheim and 'collective consciousness'.
  • Baudrillard and the hyper-real
  • Religion and science
  • Fundamentalism
  • Religion, gender and sexuality
  • New religious movements
  • Religion and Consumerism
  • Religion and Popular culture
  • Religion in a global world

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Written Assignment (30%)

Quiz: Quiz (25%)

In Term Test: In Term Test (25%)

Online Learning Activity: Online Assessments (20%)

Contact hours



Online 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1


Online 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.