ASC5002 - Socio-cultural perspectives of addiction - 2019

12 points, SCA Band 2, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Eastern Health Clinical School

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Naomi Crafti


Dr Michael Savic

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (Online)


Must be enrolled in a Postgraduate degree


This unit explores the sociocultural underpinnings of how society has conceptualised, understood and responded to addictive behaviours over time. Addiction will be considered through the lens of sociology, anthropology, psychology, politics, economics, philosophy and spirituality.

The aim of the unit will be to review a diversity of interconnected cultural forces, narratives, identities and norms, alongside mechanisms for destigmatising and empowering those experiencing and recovering from addiction.

This online unit will address a range of topics such as:

  • The evolving role of drugs in human civilisation
  • Cultural concepts and the use of language in addiction studies
  • Social, economic and political factors that affect perceptions, attitudes and responses
  • Group narratives, identities and norms that interact with addiction and recovery, such as those relating to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality and generational experiences
  • The relationship between spirituality, intoxication, addiction and recovery


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Describe and analyse the major social, cultural, political, economic, and philosophical factors that have shaped society's understanding of addiction.
  2. Critically evaluate the role of addictive behaviours in the performance and expression of cultural practices, identities, meanings and values.
  3. Distinguish and examine variations in prevalence and forms of addiction over time, including changing patterns of use, availability, accessibility and attitudes.
  4. Synthesise and critique the dominant conceptual discourses of addiction and how they have informed shifts in legal sanctions and public perceptions.
  5. Describe and explain cultural, political and mass media representations of drug use, and how they contribute to discrimination, marginalisation and stigmatisation of people living with addictions.
  6. Critically appraise the role of spirituality in intoxication, addiction and recovery.
  7. Synthesise the implications of sociocultural understandings of addiction for the effective implementation of evidence-based interventions and best practice.


Students enrolled in ASC5002 will be asked to make contact with an agency providing AOD or related services to a particular special population group. They will be asked to report on the activities of the organisation, including the results of a structured interview with at least one member of staff of that service. Students will need to obtain permission from the Director or CEO of that service and adhere to their requirements for confidentiality and/or anonymity.


  • Participation in online discussion (Hurdle)
  • Critical book review (2,500 words) (30%)
  • Critical analysis (3,000 words) (30%)
  • Cultural change project (3,500-4,500 words) (40%) (hurdle) (You must reach a minimum pass of 45% in this assessment to pass the unit)

Workload requirements

Students enrolling in ASC5002 will be expected to contact the course co-ordinator regularly throughout the semester and participate in online discussion with fellow students and academic staff. Students should expect to spend around 24 hours a week of self-directed learning. This includes accessing online lectures, podcasts and resources as well as participating in forum discussions questions and quizzes via Moodle in addition to conducting offline independent study such as reading, research and writing activities.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study