Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Key Concepts in Contemporary Sociology

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This Study Unit will be based on readings of/on contemporary sociological key thinkers linked to issues of current topical interest. Students will engage in a process of guided critical reading of given texts. The key topics explored will include sociological imagination, hyperreality, habitus, liquid modernity and risk.

The 2 hour sessions will be divided into 1 hour of interactive enquiry based learning followed by a 1 hour formal lecture.

Key concepts will be introduced using audio/visual resources (videos, photographs, music plus lyrics, online archival excerpts of the key sociologist’s lectures/speeches). Facilitated group discussions will be used to engage with the issues raised in the readings and to encourage critical application of the concepts to the students’ everyday experiences.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to:
- introduce students to contemporary sociological concepts and texts of current topical interest;
- focus on a selection of key contemporary sociologists and highlight the divergent theoretical perspectives these offer;
- offer opportunity to engage critically with the issues highlighted in the readings and facilitate informed debate by applying sociological concepts to sound arguments.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- highlight the key concepts and main arguments in the set texts, and apply them to critical engagement with issues of concern in contemporary society;
- situate the concepts/theories within the historical context they were written and express a critical opinion of their relevance in contemporary social life;
- refer to real-life examples, during classroom discussions and written assessments, to demonstrate clear understanding of these concepts.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- think critically about contemporary social issues during classroom discussions and written assessments, and use contemporary sociological theory to address them;
- use online and library resources selectively and critically to augment study-unit material;
- contribute effectively and confidently during group discussions, using logical arguments and applying the relevant sociological concepts to address the debate;
- present a brief, well structured written overview of a set reading, demonstrating critical engagement with the concepts in the text and using recognized citation methods;
- collaborate within small groups to prepare and deliver a 20 minute presentation applying concept/theory to an issue of concern in contemporary society.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Bauman, Z. & May,T. (2001). Thinking sociologically Blackwell.
Best, S., & Kellner, D. (1991). Postmodern theory: Critical interrogations Macmillan.
Beck, Ulrich (1992) Risk society: towards a new modernity.
Giddens, A. (2000). Runaway world: How globalisation is reshaping our lives. London, UK: Profile Books.
Mills, C. W. (2000). The sociological imagination. Oxford England New York: Oxford University Press.
Shilling, C. (2003). The body and social theory. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE Publications.
Sturken, M. C., Lisa. (2004). Practises of looking: An introduction to visual culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press (pp. 10-44).

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM1 Yes 30%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Gillian M. Martin

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.