Sociology (SOCI) 445

Selected Topics in Canadian Society (Revision 3)


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Delivery Mode: Individualized study with a video component

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Reading course - Social Science

Prerequisite: This course is open to all fourth year students with three credits of intermediate sociology.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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SOCI 445 is not available for challenge.

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In Selected Topics in Canadian Society, we apply the sociologist's analytical tools and techniques of synthesis toexamine contemporary political, economic, and social issues. You will learn how social class, power, gender, race, ethnicity, the state, and other social phenomena shape Canadian life, and why not all members of society experience Canada in the same way. Selected Topics in Canadian Society highlights how certain social groups enjoy more of the fruits of Canada's advanced industrial economy while others are not so fortunate. In this course you will develop a critical understanding of the social structures that have shaped Canada historically and that shape Canada today.

Course evaluation, in the form of a mid-term, take-home examination and final research paper, requires you to engage the contemporary social issues discussed in your local paper or presented on websites of various social groups and institutions.


As a senior reading course, Sociology 445: Selected Topics in Canadian Society provides an advanced introduction to the critical sociology and political economy of Canadian society. When you have completed this course, you will be able to

  1. identify the contributions of various approaches to the critical sociology of Canada.
  2. apply a critical sociological perspective to a range of Canadian social issues.
  3. read and assess both essay-length and book-length sociological arguments.
  4. prepare an accomplished research essay proposal.
  5. conduct library research and develop a competent senior-level sociology research essay.


To receive credit for SOCI 445, you must complete a learning plan, a take-home mid-term examination based on the course texts, and a research proposal and research essay. You must achieve a minimum grade of 50 per cent on both the mid-term examination and on the research proposal and research essay and a composite course grade of at least ā€œDā€ (50 percent). The following chart summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weight associated with each evaluation.

Learning Plan Mid-term Exam Research Proposal and Research Essay Total
no grade 50% 50% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Brodie, Janine. Politics on the Margins: Restructuring and the Canadian Women's Movement. Halifax: Fernwood, 1995.

McBride, Stephen, and John Shields. Dismantling a Nation: The Transition to Corporate Rule in Canada. 2d ed. Halifax: Fernwood, 1997.

McQuaig, Linda. Shooting the Hippo: Death by Deficit and Other Canadian Myths. Toronto: Penguin, 1995.

Samuelson, Les, and Wayne Antony, eds. Power and Resistance: Critical Thinking about Canadian Social Issues. 4th ed.Halifax: Fernwood, 2007.

Winson, Anthony. The Intimate Commodity: Food and the Development of the Agro-Industrial Complex in Canada. Toronto: Garamond Press, 1993.

Note: In addition to the reading assignments, this course requires students to view the film Affluenza: Medic Alert!, produced by John de Graff and Vivia Boe (Seattle: CTS/Seattle and Oregon Public Broadcasting, 1997). Copies of this film are available from Athabasca University Library or on the Internet.

Other Materials

The course materials include a study guide/student manual.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, April 12, 2011.

View previous syllabus

Updated May 26 2016 by Student & Academic Services