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SL5010/SL5510
Principles of Research Design
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Martin Mills

Pre-requisite(s): None

Co-requisite(s): None

Note(s): None

This course introduces students to the principles of research design in the social sciences. What constitutes valid and reliable research at the postgraduate and post-doctoral level? How do we: choose a research topic; focus it down into something that will make a serious contribution to the field; identify the substantive, theoretical and methodological possibilities for carrying out our research; and turn these into practical methods that will answer our questions ethically, effectively and efficiently? Students will address these questions a step-by-step process, working on a project chosen in discussion with course co-ordinator.

One 2-hour session per week.

Completion of a research design workbook, usually 3000 words.

SL5803
Supervised reading
CREDIT POINTS 15

Course Co-ordinator: Dr J Rasanayagam

Pre-requisite(s):

Co-requisite(s): All other component courses of the M.Res. in Social Anthropology, Ethnology and Cultural History, barring SL5507 Approaches to Analysis.

Note(s): This course exceptionally substitutes for SL5507 Approaches to Analysis, and can only be taken with permission of the Programme Director for the M.Res. in Social Anthropology, Ethnology and Cultural History.

The course comprises a programme of readings that will be devised in advance through consultation between student and supervisor, in light of the student’s intended research interests.

Personal supervision, averaging 2 hours per week throughout all teaching weeks of one half-session.

One essay of 3,000 words

SO5011
Qualitative Sociology: Philosophy and Methods
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Prof. John Brewer

Pre-requisite(s): This course is available only to students at level 5 (Pg5) or above.

Qualitative Sociology: Philosophy and Methods: This course introduces students to a range of methods used in qualitative sociological research (such as participant observation, qualitative interviewing, focus groups, diaries, photography and film, and archived data sources). The emphasis will be on the research process, from project design to analysis and presentation, with methodological issues raised in the context of researchable questions. Issues of reliability, representativeness and validity, and the potential for combining methods will be addressed. Students use the course work to develop their research interests and reflect on their research practices.

3 hour lecture/seminar per week.

One essay (40%) and one research report (60%)

SO5014
Advanced Social Theory
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Cristina Flesher Fominaya

Pre-requisite(s): This course is available only to students at level 5 (Pg5).

Note(s): Students who are not undertaking a postgraduate programme of study in Sociology must contact the course co-ordinator to confirm suitability of the course to their programme of study.

Advanced Social Theory: This course aims to provide an understanding of contemporary theoretical approaches in sociology. Classical sociology can be understood as an attempt to understand the transition to modernity and the effect this has had on society. Three fundamental sociological traditions emerged, each taking one form of social change as their central concern: industrial revolution and the shift to capitalist social relations (Marx), the emergence of the modern bureaucratic military state (Weber), and the transition to a more complex form of social organizations where social cohesion can no longer be generated by shared religion or ethnicity (Durkheim). Since the beginning of the 20th century, changes in social organization have accelerated and transformed further, and out of these three traditions sociology has developed a wealth of theoretical approaches to try to come to grips with these changes. This course provides an in depth look at some of the most influential theorists and schools of thought in contemporary sociology, as they struggle to understand fundamental processes such as globalization, late modernity, and the information technology revolution, and their effects on such things as identity, gender, knowledge production, social structures, inequality, culture, capitalism and the State.

3 hour lecture/seminar per week

The course is 100% continuous assessment. Assessment comprises a series of three critical written responses to the readings, collated as a course workbook. THe first assignment is worth 30% of the final mark, and the second and third assignments are worth 35% each of the final mark.

SO5503
Dissertation in Social Research
CREDIT POINTS 60

Course Co-ordinator: Tony Glendinning

Pre-requisite(s): A performance level in the four research training courses is required before students can proceed to the dissertation.

Students wishing to complete the MRes in Social Research programme must submit a research dissertation. The research training and theory courses are designed to assist students in identifying an area of study and in writing a proposal to carry out work on a research topic in that specific area under supervision.

The research dissertation can take two forms. Students who plan to proceed to advanced study use the MRes dissertation to develop the topic of their doctoral research, clarify their research question and review the appropriate literature. This may also include explaining and defending their research approach, and analysing and describing preliminary findings from a pilot study as preparation for doctoral study. However, students cannot submit an MRes dissertation in this format without the permission of the Co-ordinator of the MRes in Social Research programme, and also, acceptance by the Department of Sociology to undertake subsequent ‘+3’ PhD study.

For students who plan in the first instance to complete their studies with the MRes in Social Research, the MRes dissertation will report on a completed piece of independent and original research, in other words, a ‘stand-alone’ study. However, students who then wish to proceed to PhD, after undertaking the MRes dissertation in this second format as a ‘stand-alone’ study (i.e., completed piece of independent research) are expected to achieve at least the commendation level in the MRes in Social Research, and including at least commendation level (CAS 15+ on the Common Assessment Scale) in the MRes in Social Research dissertation.

Independent research under supervision

15 thousand word dissertation worth 100% of the total assessment

SO5512
Dimensions of Globalization
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Chris Kollmeyer

Pre-requisite(s): This course is available only to students at level 5 (Pg5) or above.

This interdisciplinary course focuses on substantive dimensions of globalization by considering recent changes occurring in the economic, political, social, and cultural realms of society. These themes are analyzed by considering recent empirical studies, which seek to clarify our theoretical understanding of globalization through advanced social scientific research. The substantive themes covered include global capitalism, the global division of labour, global governance, the changing role of the nation‐state, transnational social change, and cultural homogenization and heterogenization. Interconnections between these aspects of globalization are highlighted.

3 hour lecture/seminar per week.

Two essays: first essay (40%) and second essay (60%)

SO5513
Quantitative Sociology: Philosophy and Methods
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Tony Glendinning

Pre-requisite(s): This course is available only to students at level 5 (Pg5) or above.

This course covers quantitative approaches to sociological research (including design, sampling, administration, instruments, measures and levels of measurement, formulation of hypotheses and operationalisation of concepts, and access to secondary survey data). The course also covers more advanced statistical techniques, such as multivariate analysis for categorical data. Various quantitative approaches are illustrated by means of existing studies. It will normally be possible to link the course material with the student's particular research interests.

3 hour lecture/seminar per week.

One essay (40%) and one research report (60%).

SO5514
Religious Belief and Practice in the Modern World
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Andrew MacKinnon

Pre-requisite(s):

This course explores patterns of belief and un‐belief in modern religion. It focuses, in particular, on the secularization paradigm and those who have dissented from it, and evidence of both decline and growth in religious belief and practice. It explores the dynamics of belief across the different world religions, and examines the particular threat to the future of the Christian churches as a result of declining participation and practice in mainstream Christian churches. The course also addresses the alternative forms of spirituality that are evidenced in the West, such as new forms of religious movements, New Age spirituality, the mutation of religion into memory and cultural tradition, as well as the growth of other world religions in the modern West.

3 hour lecture/seminar per week.

Two essays: first essay (40%) and second essay (60%).

SO5515
The comparative study of European Societies
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Claire Wallace

Pre-requisite(s): This course is available only to students at level 5 (Pg5) or above

The core course will look at Europe as a society as well as by comparing different nations and regions within it. It will look not just at the European Union, but also countries that are also in the broadest sense “European” stretching to the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia. It will address key contemporary issues such as citizenship and belonging, identities in a European context, work, family and the demographic challenge as well as work‐life balance. The quality of life in Europe and social capital may also be addressed as well as issues of social stratification. The course will look at contemporary phenomena such as xenophobia and racism from a sociological perspective. Hence it will consider problems and challenges in considering Europe as a society. In addition to considering these key issues, the course will take a research perspective by looking at the evidence for these trends and patterns, enabling students to be able to seek out information and assess it for themselves.

3 hour lecture/seminar per week.

Two essays: first essay (40%) and second essay (60%)

SO5519
Sex, Gender, Violence: Critical Approaches
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Marysia Zalewski

Pre-requisite(s):

This course investigates the ways people think about, understand, and respond to violence. How do we know what counts as violence or a violence act? Why does legislation against violence often seem inadequate, perhaps especially in the case of gendered and sexual violence? As the links between sex, gender and violence appear intimate and often lethal, a central but not exclusive focus of this course will be on theories and practices of sex/gender. We will focus on specific texts, for example Zizek’s 'Violence: Six Sideways Reflections' (2009, Profile Books) throughout the course. We will consider how violence is represented, for example in media representations of conflicts, or in popular culture such as films. We will also analyze legislative attempts to deal with violence for example in the arena of human rights and gender mainstreaming. Furthermore, we will pay close attention to the brutal fecundity of violence through the banality of every‐day ordinary violence. This will be a seminar class with the emphasis on student led participation and discussion rather than lectures.

3 hour lecture/seminar per week.

One short paper (10%), one essay (40%) and one project (50%)

SO5520
Cultural Sociology
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: David Inglis

Pre-requisite(s):

Note(s): Students taking this course should acquire: • the capacity to discuss and evaluate empirical evidence • the capacity to discuss and evaluate theoretical arguments • intellectual skills necessary to sustain life-long learning • key communication skills, both written, oral and dialogic

The course familiarises the student with the field of cultural sociology, which is one of the growth areas within sociology and related areas internationally. The field encompasses a diverse set of ideas, approaches and dispositions, all of which are concerned with two key matters: 1) how should sociology understand culture and cultural phenomena, and their relations with the social, political and economic factors in human life? 2) what are the major sources and forms of cultural change today and in the past? The course gives students an advanced understanding of the major schools of thought within cultural sociology, demonstrating their central theoretical, conceptual, methodological, empirical and political dispositions. It compares and contrasts all of these major analytic orientations, and subjects them to sustained scrutiny and critique, in order to allow students to come to nuanced evaluations of both classical and contemporary work in this area. The course allows students to understand in a sophisticated way what is at stake in cultural sociology debates, both within sociology and the social sciences more generally, and also in extra-academic contexts, such as in cultural and social policy circles. The course also lays the necessary conceptual, methodological and substantive foundations for students to carry out their own independent researches in the cultural sociological field, within the dissertation associated with the MSc in Cultural Sociology programme, and in other contexts, including future PHD research..

Independent research under supervision

One 1 hour lecture per week; one 2 hour seminar per week.

100% Continuous Assessment: one 2500 word essay on a prescribed topic (40%); one 5000 word research report on a prescribed topic (60%)

SO5521
Transitional Justice and Reconciliation
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: John Brewer

Pre-requisite(s): Normally a 2(i) degree in sociology, or a social science discipline, a cognate discipline, or equivalent experience.

Note(s): Students taking this course should acquire: • the capacity to discuss and evaluate empirical evidence • the capacity to discuss and evaluate theoretical arguments • intellectual skills necessary to sustain life-long learning • key communication skills, both written, oral and dialogic

The course familiarises students with the field of transitional justice, which is one of the growth areas within the social sciences and related areas internationally. It establishes the nature of transitional justice as it currently conceived and which has moved it intellectually significantly beyond narrower interests in law and legal justice. Transitional justice is now integrally tied to the idea of reconciliation and is thus a meeting ground for law, philosophy, ethics and social science. Transitional justice is now acclaimed as the main mechanism to achieve reconciliation. The course places particular emphasis on four dimensions within transitional justice studies by which reconciliation is addressed: truth recovery, memory, forgiveness and reparations. These processes are subject to critical review and the course assesses the boundaries of unforgivingness after conflict, the burden of memory and the boundaries of forgetting, the problems with ‘truth’ and truth recovery, and the limits of shame apologies and reparations. The course will lay the necessary conceptual, methodological and substantive foundations for students to carry out their own independent researches in the transitional justice and reconciliation within the dissertation associated with the MSc in Transitional Justice and Reconciliation, and in other contexts, including future PhD research.

Independent research under supervision
One 1 hour lecture per week; one 2 hour seminar per week.

100% Continuous Assessment: two 3000 word essays on prescribed topics, worth 50% each

SO5522
Sociology of Peace Processes
CREDIT POINTS 30

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Johr Brewer

Pre-requisite(s): Registration for an MSc in Social Science

The course familiarises the student with the field of the sociology of peace processes, which is one of the growth areas within sociology and related areas internationally. It establishes the nature of sociology’s distinctive contribution to the study of peace processes and the conceptual and empirical focus of this approach. The course places particular emphasis on three areas, religion, gender and civil society. It addresses three international peace processes in particular, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Sri Lanka, and critically assesses the contribution in each of religion, civil society and gender. The course will lay the necessary conceptual, methodological and substantive foundations for students to carry out their own independent researches in the sociology of peace processes within the dissertation associated with the MSc in the Sociology of Peace Processes, and in other contexts, including future PhD research.

Independent research under supervision
One 1 hour lecture per week; one 2 hour seminar per week.

100% Continuous Assessment: two 3000 word essays on prescribed topics, worth 50% each

SO5901
Dissertation in Globalization
CREDIT POINTS 60

Course Co-ordinator: Chris Kollmeyer

Pre-requisite(s): A performance level in the four taught courses is required before students can proceed to the dissertation.

Students who meet the necessary requirements proceed to the dissertation. Students identify an appropriate dissertation topic in consultation with the programme co-ordinator. The dissertation is especially designed to extend an interest which students develop throughout the programme, particularly whilst undertaking the specialist and elective courses in the second semester, and to have experience in formulating, designing and conducting their own social science research investigation. The dissertation can also be library-based around conceptual and theoretical issues.


Independent research under supervision

10-12 thousand word dissertation worth 100%

SO5902
Dissertation in Religion and Society
CREDIT POINTS 60

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Andrew McKinnon

Pre-requisite(s): A performance level in the four taught courses is required before students can proceed to the dissertation.

Students who meet the necessary requirements proceed to the dissertation. Students identify an appropriate dissertation topic in consultation with the programme co-ordinator. The dissertation is especially designed to extend an interest which students develop throughout the programme, particularly whilst undertaking the specialist and elective courses in the second semester, and to have experience in formulating, designing and conducting their own social science research investigation. The dissertation can also be library-based around conceptual and theoretical issues.

Independent study under supervision

10—12 thousand word dissertation worth 100% of the total assessment

SO5904
Dissertation in Sociology’
CREDIT POINTS 60

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Cristina Flesher Fominaya

Pre-requisite(s): A performance level in the four taught courses is required before students can proceed to the dissertation.


Students who meet the necessary requirements proceed to the dissertation. Students identify an appropriate dissertation topic in consultation with the programme co-ordinator. The dissertation is especially designed to extend an interest which students develop throughout the programme, particularly whilst undertaking the specialist and elective courses in the second semester, and to have experience in formulating, designing and conducting their own social science research investigation. The dissertation can also be library-based around conceptual and theoretical issues.

Independent study under supervision

10—12 thousand word dissertation worth 100% of the total assessment

SO5905
Dissertation in European Politics and Society
CREDIT POINTS 60

Course Co-ordinator: Prof. Claire Wallace

Pre-requisite(s): A performance level in the four taught courses is required before students can proceed to the dissertation.

Students who meet the necessary requirements proceed to the dissertation. Students identify an appropriate dissertation topic in consultation with the programme co-ordinator. The dissertation is especially designed to extend an interest which students develop throughout the programme, particularly whilst undertaking the specialist and elective courses in the second semester, and to have experience in formulating, designing and conducting their own social science research investigation. The dissertation can also be library-based around conceptual and theoretical issues.

Independent study under supervision

10—12 thousand word dissertation worth 100% of the total assessment

SO5906
Dissertation (MSc in Sex, Humans, Bodies)
CREDIT POINTS 60

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Marysia Zalewski

Pre-requisite(s): A performance level in the four taught courses is required before students can proceed to the dissertation.

Students who meet the necessary requirements proceed to the dissertation. Students identify an appropriate dissertation topic in consultation with the programme co-ordinator. The dissertation is especially designed to extend an interest which students develop throughout the programme, particularly whilst undertaking the specialist and elective courses in the second semester, and to have experience in formulating, designing and conducting their own social science research investigation. The dissertation can also be library-based around conceptual and theoretical issues.

Independent study under supervision

10—12 thousand word dissertation worth 100% of the total assessment

SO5907
Dissertation in Cultural Sociology
CREDIT POINTS 60

Course Co-ordinator: David Inglis

Pre-requisite(s):

Note(s): Within the context of the field of cultural sociology: • To undertake a course of independent research under supervision • To permit students to formulate, design and conduct research on a topic negotiated with the course convenor • To familiarise students with the nature of social science research • To develop students’ depth of knowledge on their chosen topic

Students who meet the necessary requirements for the MSc in Cultural Sociology proceed to the dissertation. Students select a topic in consultation with the programme convenor that explores in depth some aspect of the field of cultural sociology. The dissertation is designed to allow students to extend an interest in some aspect of the programme, and to have experience in formulating, designing and conducting their own autonomous research investigation in cultural sociology. Students complete a piece of circa 12,000 words under expert supervision.

Independent research under supervision

One circa 12,000 word dissertation worth 100%

SO5908
Dissertation in Transitional Justice and Reconciliation
CREDIT POINTS 60

Course Co-ordinator: John Brewer

Pre-requisite(s): 120 credits in the necessary courses in the MSc programme Transitional Justice and Reconciliation

Note(s): • The capacity to formulate, design and undertake social science research • The capacity to work independently • To develop further students’ written communication skills • To develop further the intellectual skills for life-long learning

Students who meet the necessary requirements for the MSc in Transitional Justice and Reconciliation proceed to the dissertation. Students select a topic in consultation with the programme convenor that explores in depth some aspect of the field of transitional justice and reconciliation. The dissertation is designed to allow students to extend an interest in some aspect of the programme and to have experience in formulating, designing and conducting their research investigation. Students complete a piece of circa 12,000 words under expert supervision.

Independent research under supervision

One circa 12,000 word dissertation worth 100%