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Undergraduate Sociology 2019-2020

SO1007: INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY I: SELF, IDENTITY & SOCIETY

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

Sociology is the study of human social groups. It particularly focuses on modern societies, analysing how they work and how the major social institutions in them (such as religion, the media, government and the economy) operate. The course provides students with a general introduction to the unique manner in which sociologists seek to understand contemporary societies. Students are presented with current and classical approaches to understanding the social processes that underlie self-construction, group formation and social interaction, within urbanizing and globalizing social contexts.

SO1509: INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY II: SYSTEMS OF POWER

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course is an introduction to macro-sociology, which analyses the ways that people’s lives are shaped by large-scale forces, structures, and institutions. Students are introduced to the particular ways in which classical and contemporary sociologists understand social forces in the modern domestic and global environment and learn to think critically about those social forces that impact their everyday lives using the sociological imagination. Substantive topics likely to be covered in this course include the media, politics, religion, surveillance, education, class stratification, international inequalities, and the relationship between humans and other animals.

SO2006: SOCIOLOGY OF EVERYDAY LIFE I: THE EMBODIED SELF

30 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This follows on from level-one sociology. It is designed to highlight the ways that sociological theory informs the research endeavour, not only the questions sociologists raise, but also the particular modes through which we go about investigating them. The module examines these points in relation to a range of micro-level topics – the body, food and feeding, health and illness, the emotions, group behaviour, sex and gender, the life course and death and dying – all of which emphasise the nature of human interaction and sociological efforts to understand it.

SO2509: SOCIOLOGY OF EVERYDAY LIFE II: GLOBAL ISSUES IN THE 21ST C

30 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This macro-sociology course extends students’ understanding of large-scale social, as well as political and economic, processes and institutions. Particular focus is on the sociological analysis of global issues and socio-political controversies, many of which are subject to topical and, at times, contentious debate at the beginning of the 21st century. The substantive topics include areas of social and political concern such as globalisation; the changing nature of economy, work and leisure; risk and insecurity; multiculturalism; food production and security; social movements; nationalism and identities.

SO3066: THINKING SOCIOLOGICALLY

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Thinking Sociologically is the department's core sociological theory module. The course offers our students an introduction to a range of key sociological thinkers and bodies of thought, both classical and contemporary, that inform sociological analysis of social life and social institutions. As such, this course is intended to provide our honours students with a conceptual 'toolkit', that can be applied to facilitate understanding, insight and informed critique with respect to a broad range of historical and contemporary social, political and economic phenomena.

SO3067: RELIGION AND SOCIETY

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Modernization changes the nature and social position of religion: what was once imposed on entire societies becomes a matter of choice and as societies become more religiously diverse, religion is increasingly confined to the home and the family. National churches are replaced by denominations and sects and the state’s increasing neutrality allows new religious movements to flourish. This course uses secularization to examine such basic sociological concepts as social differentiation, individualism, social cohesion, community versus voluntary association, immigration, conversion, recruitment, gender, and cultural defence.

SO3524: SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Sociologists use a range of methods and techniques to explore and test sociological theory. This module introduces many of these methods and techniques. It aims to ground students’ theoretical understanding of society through the practical analysis of a variety of data. It starts by introducing the varying philosophical starting points of research and goes on to provide foundation level critical analysis skills in the key quantitative and qualitative methods that sociologists have deployed to understand and ‘capture’ the social world.

TR3501: BETWEEN CONFLICT AND PEACE TRANSITIONS IN SOCIETY AND POLITICS

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course utilises a range of disciplinary and theoretical approaches to analyse the concept of ‘transition’ as a fundamental condition of world history. It examines this through two related processes: the transition from conflict to peace and from peace to conflict at both a macro and micro level. Topics include how states transition through revolutionary violence or through peaceful means, how individuals are radicalized into terrorist groups or become involved in non-violent movements, and transitions in global institutions, norms and technology that generate local and individual changes.

SO4049: RESEARCH PROJECT

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course affords students the opportunity to apply their sociological knowledge and research skills to an individual piece of research, focusing on a topic selected by the student and approved by the department. Over the course of the project, with guidance from a member of staff, the student will conduct a literature review of relevant material, select appropriate research methods, gather and analyse data, and write a final report. All students will be guided in the arts of critical analysis, report planning, and report writing. Particular emphasis will be given to helping students develop their own skills.

SO4051: EUROPEAN SOCIETIES

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

The course considers European Societies from a sociological perspective, addressing the social issues and social processes that affect Europe. Topics that are only addressed as national issues such as work, family, and religion are examined at the European level. The course addresses how the widening and integration of Europe has raised issues such as nationalism, xenophobia and migration. The course introduces various theoretical concepts which provide a framework for the course and are then developed through the more substantive topics which may include the history of European Societies, family patterns in Europe, employment and welfare in Europe, xenophobia and racism.

SO4054: POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course aims to give students an understanding of the social basis of political power. It begins by examining the classic paradigms of political sociology, paying particular attentions to those developed by Marx, Weber, and Tocqueville. It then examines several substantive issues and debates on the nature of contemporary political life, such as those surrounding the changing nature of civil society, the power of large corporations, the relative decline of class politics and rise of cultural politics, the media's influence on public opinion, and globalization's effect on democracy.

SO4058: SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION AND CULTURE

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Religion is part of culture, and shares many of its most fundamental attributes. This course begins with an in depth re-examination of classical sociological theories of religion with a view to understanding religion as culture. We then examine the relationship between religion and other important social phenomena and experiences, including violence, rebellion, discipline, death, hope and advertising. Advertising makes a good example: modern advertising has religious roots in the 1920s as the ‘promise of redemption’. Now advertising dominates everything, and even education and religion are forced to speak in its terms.

SO4065: ANIMALS AND SOCIETY

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

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.

SO4554: POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course aims to give students an understanding of the social basis of political power. It begins by examining the classic paradigms of political sociology, paying particular attentions to those developed by Marx, Weber, and Tocqueville. It then examines several substantive issues and debates on the nature of contemporary political life, such as those surrounding the changing nature of civil society, the power of large corporations, the relative decline of class politics and rise of cultural politics, the media's influence on public opinion, and globalization's effect on democracy.

SO4557: POLITICS AND RELIGION

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Religion inspires political action, pervades national identities, and shapes political regimes. Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Nigeria, Mali, Syria; the conflicts in these countries all involve religious differences. Religion may be in decline in the West but even in Europe there are arguments about the proper place of religion and about religious exemptions from general laws. In the USA religious conservatives use the courts, state legislatures and Congress to fight against abortion and gay rights. Taking a very broad view of politics, this course examines the links between religion and politics.

SO4565: SEX, DEATH AND THE AFTERLIFE

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course explores the key existential questions in the modern world.  Through a series of theoretical approaches and case studies it examines the changes in individuals' understanding of sex, the meaning of life, and death.  The overarching theme of the course focuses on the changing attitudes and practices surrounding existential issues in light of an increasingly secularised social context.  As church involvement and knowledge of Christian beliefs have declined, people have little choice but to become increasingly inventive, which in turn affects the shape of the modern self.  The course addresses these individual and cultural shifts through a sociological framework.

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