Understanding Aotearoa New Zealand

Please note: this is archived course information from 2021 for SOCIOL 101.


This course provides an introduction to the sociological analysis of New Zealand society. We look at familiar events, institutions, social processes from a sociological point of view and offer new and different ways to understand them. The course focuses on the structure of New Zealand society and on social and political changes that affect the lives of New Zealanders and shape their society.

This course invites you to think sociologically about life in Aotearoa New Zealand, asking you to think in possibly new and different ways about what it means to live here today. In particular, you will have an opportunity to explore the way in which your life and the lives of your family and friends are shaped by major axes of difference such as:

  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Class

Additionally, you will get to explore a number of current social debates, for example, about violence, punishment and the environment. We will use both written texts and audiovisual material to examine these matters.

Course structure

The course is organised around the following themes in order:

  • Introduction to sociology
  • Settler colonial foundations and Māori-Pākehā relations
  • Neo-liberalism and class inequalities
  • Multiculturalism and new settler identities
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Contemporary social issues

Reading forms a central component of this course and you can buy the course textbook, A Land of Milk and Honey? from the UBS.

Learning outcomes

On the successful completion of this course you should:

  • Be able to define and apply a range of sociological concepts to the study of society
  • Be able to explain the sociological imagination and apply it to a range of social issues
  • Have a foundational sociological understanding of New Zealand society
  • Have developed skills in analysing sociological readings

Coursework + exam

Availability 2021

Summer School, repeated Semester 2


Lecturer(s) Dr Avril Bell


Coursework + exam


SOCIOL 101: 15 points