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PS30164: Social action and change

[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 Psychology
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: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 80%, OR 20%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Oral Presentation (OR 20%)
  • Essay (CW 80%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this module you must take PS20109 OR take PS20168
Description: Aims:
The aims of this unit are to:
* provide students with a critical understanding of the field of social change research and the dominant social psychological theories that influence this field;
* provide students with an understanding of current debates about the adequacy of these perspectives and limitations of the field;
* develop in students a critical awareness of how our theories are used to shape the world and the importance of reflecting on one's own research approaches.

Learning Outcomes:
After completing this unit, students will be able to:
* Describe and recognize the dominant social psychological perspectives used to explain social change.
* Draw on theory and empirical research to analyse social problems and to evaluate social change approaches.
* Critically evaluate theory and research addressing the causes and consequences of social change.
* Critically Apply this knowledge through the evaluation of a theoretically informed social change intervention.

This unit will develop in students, the following skills:
* Comprehensive and scholarly written communication (T/F A).
* Ability to select, summarise and synthesise written information (T/F A).
* Ability to develop rigorous arguments through precise use of concepts and models (FA).
* Ability to design and present a coherent and persuasive argument in oral and visual form (T/F A).
* Ability to produce work to agree specifications and deadlines (FA).
* Can solve problems by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions and evaluating outcomes. (T/F A)
* Is sensitive to and can react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal factors in groups and teams. (T/F)
* Can undertake self-directed study and project management in order to meet desired objectives. (T/F A)
* Is able to take charge of their own learning, and can reflect and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses for the purposes of future learning. (T/F).

Social change is a foundational concern of social psychology and indeed, some argue that our ability to explain both social change and social stability should be the yardstick by which social psychology is judged. This course will cover:
* meta-theories that have been influential in research (e.g., the social identity perspective, social representations theory, and societal theory), and their conceptualisation of key concepts including identity, influence, leadership, agency, power, intergroup relations and social change strategies.
* current social-psychological research that seeks to understand and/or inform social change processes across a range of social phenomena such as poverty, social exclusion, disability, crime, health inequalities, inter-ethnic conflict, terrorism (examples used will change).
* current debates that will influence the future direction of the social change field: such as how social change is conceptualised; the assumptions enshrined in our theories; and the adequacy of our methodologies.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PS30164 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Psychology


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
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