Sociology: A Beginner's Guide

Module code: SY1005

From its origins in the birth of modernity, sociology has continued to be at the heart of debates about people’s experiences and opportunities in society. Its development as a discipline, its varied topics of study, and its multitude of theoretical perspectives make sociology a challenging and exciting subject to study.

This module will introduce you to sociological thinking. It begins with an account of the development of sociology in the context of modernity and the range of issues and themes this gave rise to, including inequality, the individual-society relationship, social change, and sociology as a 'science'. You'll then consider aspects of the 'sociological imaginations' of three founding sociological thinkers: Marx, Durkheim and Weber.

A focus on sociological theory continues via a review of more recent approaches that draw on and further develop the sociological imaginations of the founding sociologists. Overall, then, this module examines theoretical and empirical work that enhances our understanding of sociological thinking, and of the uses of sociology as a discipline.

Topics Covered

  • What is Sociology?
  • Relations between science and common sense
  • Sociology and Modernity
  • Key concepts: society and culture, individuals and agency
  • Classical sociological imaginations: Marx, Durkheim, Weber
  • Modern Sociological Imaginations: Parsons, Dahrendorf, Stuart Hall, Garfinkel, Giddens, Ann Oakley
  • The uses of Sociology

Learning

  • 20 hours of lectures
  • 9 hours of seminars
  • 5 hours of tutorials
  • 116 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Exam, 2 hours (100%)