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SP20112: Contemporary sociological theory

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • CW 100% (CW 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
The aim of this unit is to:
1. Provide students with a grounding in contemporary sociological theory.
2. Foster an understanding of how these ways of thinking emerged from and developed concerns within classical sociology;
3. Reinforce and develop students' understanding of key sociological debates as they relate to the work of contemporary social theorists.

Learning Outcomes:
After successfully completing this unit students will be able to:
1. Distinguish the key approaches that inform debates in recent sociology.
2. Understand the complex relationship between the individual and society.
3. Identify how structure and agency and other dualisms inform theoretical and methodological debates in current sociology.
4. Recognise the pitfalls and possibilities of using dualistic approaches to situate their own analysis.
5. In the construction of their own research procedures, be aware of the limits that traditional dualisms impose upon our thinking about human societies.

Skills:

* To think creatively and analytically;
* To communicate an argument;
* To evaluate others' arguments and research;
* To learn independently and be able to assess own learning needs (i.e. identify strengths and improve weaknesses in methods of learning and studying);
* To critically evaluate and assess research and evidence as well as a variety of other information;
* To gather information, data, research and literature from a number of different sources (i.e. library, web-based, archives etc.);
* To select appropriate and relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge;
* To synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding;
* To utilise problem solving skills;
* To analyse and evaluate innovative practices in students' relevant degree discipline;
* To effectively and efficiently apply principles of sociological/social policy analysis within a variety of environments;
* To develop study & learning skills (note taking, avoiding plagiarism, using the library, gathering and using information, constructing a bibliography, referencing);
* To develop basic information and computing technology skills (word processing, email, using the web to search for information);
* To develop inter-personal and communication skills;
* To develop essay research, preparation and writing skills;
* To be able to construct a bibliography of varying complexity;
* To develop time-management and administrative skills;
* To summarise key theories, perspectives and debates;
* To reflect upon his/her own academic and professional performance and take responsibility for personal and professional learning and development;
* To solve problems in a variety of situations;
* To manage time effectively and respond to changing demands;
* To prioritise workloads, and utilise long- and short-term planning skills

Content:
This unit will provide a critical overview of contemporary social theory covering, amongst other things, the complex nature of the relationship between the individual and society. The first half of the unit introduces students to key theoretical approaches to recent social shifts, for example, postmodern and poststructuralist theories, the risk society thesis, postcolonial theory, ideas concerning liquid modernity and materialist/realist approaches to social divisions in society. The second half of the unit provides students with real-world applications of these theoretical approaches, for example, the transformation of intimate relationships, the emergence and operation of preventative strategies in health-case, the fragmentation/hybridity of social identities, neoliberalisation, the role of social movements, civil society, and ideology.
The lecture series prompts students to think about the following questions: How have social theorists sought to make sense of society and social life in the late twentieth/early twenty-first century? HHow has the complex relationship between the individual and society been theorist in contemporary social theory? What is the relationship between contemporary and classical social theory?
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP20112 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 2)

SP20112 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • UHPL-AFB30 : BSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AAB30 : BSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AKB30 : BSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Politics with Economics (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AAB10 : BSc(Hons) Politics with Economics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Politics with Economics with Year long work placement (Year 2)
Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 2)

Notes: