Modern Sociological Theory

Module code: SY3079

This module examines a number of key works in contemporary sociological theory that have sought to understand major social phenomena, including the processes of change, such as climate change and the expansion of the human rights regime. It encourages you to use social theory in order to creatively theorise and think critically about the ways in which the social word is changing.

Special attention is paid to the ways in which authors construct the relationship between theory and research. The emphasis is on bringing social theory alive by encouraging you to use social theory to analyse particular aspects of today’s society. The module offers you the opportunity to engage in a close reading of original texts, and to participate in debates.

Topics covered

  • The Role and Uses of Social Theory
  • Mills on Sociological Craftsmanship
  • Merton on Function and Dysfunction
  • Elias on Figurational Sociology and the Civilising Process
  • Goffman on Dramaturgy
  • Barthes on Signs and Symbols
  • Castells on Networks and the Information Society
  • Bourdieu on Habitus and Distinction
  • Beck on the Risk Society
  • Bauman and the Critique on Modernity
  • Foucault on Discipline and Power
  • Cohen on Subcultures
  • Redhead on Postsubcultures
  • Connell on Hegemonic Masculinity
  • Butler on Gender Performativity
  • Connell on Southern Theory

Learning

  • 18 hours of lectures
  • 9 hours of seminars
  • 2 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 121 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Essay, 3,000 words (70%)
  • Portfolio, 1,000 words (30%)