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SP30200: Social dynamics and complex systems

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2014/5
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: ES 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Essay 100% (ES 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this unit you must take SP20112
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
The unit will examine a variety of recent approaches to the analysis of social dynamics, with particular reference to neo-institutionalism and complexity science. It will consider the strengths and limitations of each, as a basis for theorising and modelling social dynamics, and the scope for applying such perspectives to empirical data sets. It will also consider the implications for policy analysis and policy indicators. The unit will bring together a range of theoretical literatures with a number of empirically oriented case studies.

Learning Outcomes:
Critical understanding of contemporary approaches to explaining social dynamics, using a variety of recent social science literatures including those which draw inspiration from the natural sciences. Application of these literatures to the analysis of public policies.

To think creatively and analytically
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 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 apply effectively and efficiently principles of sociological/social policy analysis within a variety of environments;
To develop essay research, preparation and writing skills;
To develop presentation skills and verbal communication (i.e. oral presentations, seminar and tutorial contributions).

The analysis of social dynamics: perspectives and problems.
Complexity in the natural sciences: emergence and path dependency.
Economic institutionalism and political neo-institutionalism: institutions, interests and time.
Agents and actions on complex terrains.
Policy analysis and policy indicators.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP30200 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AKB11 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Human Resource Management with Year long work placement (Year 4)

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2014/15 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2015/16 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2014/15.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.