Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


This course is concerned with contemporary social and cultural theory and the ways it is entangled in emerging research themes in sociology, anthropology, and intersecting fields. Social Lab explores ideas of theory as always present, even in our most rudimentary thinking. In bringing together emerging research themes and 'theory labs' at key points in the semester, we will explore strategies for thinking with and against , writing about, using, and engaging theoretical texts. Social Lab prepares students for further encounters with social theory in Honours and Postgraduate research and in the 'world beyond'.



  • Semester 2 - 2022

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): SOCA3750. Students who have successfully completed SOCA3750 are not eligible to enrol in SOCA3780.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Explore the relationships between ‘the theoretical’ and ‘the empirical’ in both conventional and experimental ways.

2. Identify theory in new research and discuss in the 'theory lab'.

3. Analyse the tactics and techniques authors use to contend with theory through written reflections.

4. Generate an emergent research agenda and propose crucial areas for future research.


Topics will include:

  • Three key themes (3 topics each): place (belonging, cosmopolitanism, race), body (mobilities, organs/tissue, interspecies connections), and matter (data, infrastructure, commodities).
  • Extracting theory and engaging in debates in 'theory labs' (3 during semester).
  • Discussion of the methodologies and methods required for pushing methodological boundaries in social research.

Assumed knowledge

SOCA1010, SOCA1020, SOCS2200

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Theory Lab Analysis: Part 1 (20%)

Written Assignment: Theory Lab Analysis: Part 2 (35%)

Written Assignment: Theory Lab Analysis: Part 3 + Research Agenda (45%)

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 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.