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SO4548: ANIMALS AND SOCIETY (2018-2019)

Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course introduces students to Human-Animal Studies (HAS) and the ‘animal turn’ in the social sciences. It also explores the sociological significance and political implications of human-animal issues in contemporary modern societies and the academy. To develop a more critical and nuanced understanding of interspecies interactions/contexts students will consider the contested nature of the human/animal boundary, changing attitudes towards animals in modern postmodern societies, and the ambiguous status of animals, especially in practice. By drawing on perspectives such as ecofeminism, symbolic interactionism, actor-network theory and Critical Animal Studies this will further contextualise current debates about humans and other animals.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Rhoda Wilkie

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 4
  • Sociology (SO) (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Since the 1980’s, the social sciences have witnessed an ‘animal turn’, as evidenced by the emerging field of human-animal studies. This course explores the sociological and political significance of human-animal relations in contemporary modern societies, and considers the implications of the ‘animal turn’ on mainstream disciplinary assumptions. The institutionalised use of animals, such as agricultural animals, is also increasingly contentious. The course outlines key historical, religious and philosophical influences to contextualise the ambiguous and multifaceted nature of interspecies relations, and draws on perspectives such as actor-network theory, ecofeminism, symbolic interactionism, postmodernism, and ‘public sociology’ to inform related discussions and debates.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 30 August 2024 for 1st half-session courses and 20 December 2024 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st attempt: 1 three-hour written examination (60%); continuous assessment (40%).

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Written feedback will be provided for continuous assessment work, where appropriate. This will normally be provided within three weeks of the submission date. Oral feedback on class presentations will also be provided where appropriate.

Course Learning Outcomes


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