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SP10044: Classical sociological theory

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment Group N: Coursework (100%) (asst grp N) (CW 100%)
  • Assessment Group S: Coursework (100%) (asst grp S) (CW 100% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
Supplementary Assessment:
SP10044 Reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: The aims of the unit are to:
i. help students appreciate and identify the distinctions and relationships between the conceptualisation of societies and their problems by classical sociologists (such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim);
ii. introduce students to some of the key concepts and theories shaping contemporary sociological analysis;
iii. introduce the relationships between sociological thinking and its applications to specific contemporary social issues.

Learning Outcomes: By the end of the unit the students will be better equipped to:
* Identify and describe key classical sociological theories and concepts
* Identify and describe key differences between their various conceptions of society and its problems
* Reflect critically upon the use and limitations of sociological concepts and theories
* Apply sociological concepts and theories to contemporary social issues and problems.

Skills: Intellectual Skills
Knowledge of key ways in which theorists have attempted to understand 'society'
Knowledge of the fundamental concepts of sociology
Knowledge of the theoretical basis of sociological perspectives
Knowledge of classical perspectives in sociology
Knowledge of the relationship between sociology and other cognate disciplines

Transferable/Key Skills
To think creatively and analytically.
To communicate an argument.
To evaluate others' arguments and research.
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 synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding.
Revision and Examination skills
Understanding of how to apply knowledge and concepts from across various social sciences disciplines
Study and Learning skills (note taking, avoiding plagiarism, using the library, gathering and using information, constructing a bibliography, referencing)

Content: Teaching and learning are divided into two related stages. The first overviews types of classical sociological theory of the nature of society and its evolution, typical social relations, institutions and actions. Subsequently, the second part relates key aspects of these conceptions to contemporary social problems.
The lecture programme seeks to explore how classical sociological theories can help us answer fundamental questions, such as: What is society? What is social structure? What is social change?

Programme availability:

SP10044 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB15 : BSc(Hons) Social Work and Applied Social Studies (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Year long work placement (Year 1)

SP10044 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB14 : BSc(Hons) Applied Social Studies (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)

SP10044 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Psychology


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change 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.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.