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Contemporary Issues in the Australian Society

Topic 1: Moral Panic in Australian Society 
Outline Stanley Cohen’s theory of moral panic. Choose ONE of the following contemporary society issues,
and analyse how Australian media have presented this issue as a moral panic.  
In your response, show how the media have made one group into ‘folk devils’ or deviants, and others into 
‘moral entrepreneurs’.  In response, refer to current media on the issue including news/current affairs,
and other news media.   
• Refugees/ Asylum Seekers • The ‘Ice’ epidemic • The obesity epidemic • Youth sub-cultures
Topic 2: Politics and Power  Outline the different conceptualisation of power as discussed in Chapter 3 of 
‘Contemporary Society’ (James Arvanitakis, 2012). Analyse how power is exercised in Australian politics, 
and provide an example, from the 20th or 21st century, of how Australian politicians have used power to shape 
public thinking on a social issue.  
Topic 3: Technology & Society James Arvanitakis (2012, p.149) notes that ‘technological advancements are generally
celebrated in our society and are almost always seen as a good thing’. Do new technologies 
(for example, smart phone, Internet, GPS surveillance, social media, virtual classrooms, etc) offer the possibility 
of greater freedom or greater social control? Analyse this in relation to the use of technological advancements in 
Australian workplaces, and/or universities. 
Topic 4: Social Movements as People Power 
‘Social movements always represent a progressive agenda for change’. Assess the extent that ‘people power’, 
when exercised through social movements as collective behaviour, can change 
Australian society. Analyse this through ONE social movement in Australia (for example, GetUp).  
Topic 5: Environment, Climate change and Risk 
James Arvanitakis (2012, p.166) says ‘the issue of the environment and globalisation is the most pressing issue facing
the world today’. Yet some groups in Australian society have questioned the extent that climate change is a global risk.
Outline the arguments around climate change, and analyse why different groups in Australian society 
(for example, scientists/politicians/environmental groups/farmers) support, or do not support climate change science.
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Category: Sample Questions