New Zealand Social Policy and Social Justice

Please note: this is archived course information from 2021 for SOCIOL 103.


This course provides an overview of key contemporary social policy issues within the context of globalising economic processes and continuing gendered and racialised divisions. It will discuss the way in which debates around social policy in New Zealand are constructed and the implications this has for social justice. Case studies this year will include inequality, children and ethnic diversity.

The first section of the course introduces key concepts and theoretical perspectives crucial to the study of social policy. This sets the scene for a series of case studies focusing on current social policy challenges in New Zealand and elsewhere. The course will conclude with a brief consideration of the current reality and future potential for social policy to facilitate social justice.

Course aims

  • To introduce students to concepts and categories central to contemporary debates in social policy and political sociology
  • To demonstrate that social policy issues are always complex and contested, as a result of different theoretical or value viewpoints about both the "problem" and the "solution"
  • To encourage students to engage in a rigorous examination of contemporary social policy issues using critical thinking skills

At the completion of the course, the student should be able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and understanding about contemporary social policy issues in New Zealand within a broad theoretical context
  • Specific research skills appropriate to a policy-focused course

These skills include:

  • Gathering and synthesising concepts and ideas from a wide range of academic and other relevant sources
  • Analysing data (such as tables and graphs) using critical thinking skills
  • Assessing and summarising alternative ways of thinking about policy problems

Availability 2021

Semester 2


Lecturer(s)  Sereana Naepi


A course reader will be made available via CANVAS.


Coursework + exam


SOCIOL 103: 15 points