School of Global Studies

Understanding Processes of Social Change (820L6)

Understanding Processes of Social Change

Module 820L6

Module details for 2017/18.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 7 (Masters)

Module Outline

This course will explore debates and approaches to the study of processes of social change. It will do so by critically examining theoretical insights and concrete examples drawn from different disciplines, such as anthropology, history, sociology and social theory. Throughout the course, students will engage in current debates about modernisation and change, using their analytical skills to relate wider theories to specific, concrete ethnographic case studies. It is important to understand the nature and direction of social and economic change against the background of planned development. Development refers to planned change, in whatever form it may occur, while not all change in society is of this kind. A wide range of social, cultural, economic and political changes also occur, and often arise out of less planned and more internal transformations. It is with the latter that this course will primarily be preoccupied.

This course will introduce students to classical sociological theories informing mainstream anthropological analyses of social change. The focus here is on theorisations of wider processes of modernisation and change from structural, political and economic perspectives. Secondly, the course will consider debates concerning the effects and consequences of modernisation processes on social, political and economic realms, such as the formation of nation states, state bureaucracy and civil society; the development of markets and commoditisation of economic, social and cultural relationships. Thirdly, it will reflect on recent critical approaches to the study of modernity and change as represented by theoretical trends associated to feminist theory, postmodernism, postcolonial studies and contemporary social theory. Particular attention will be paid to issues of globalisation and transnationalism; colonial and postcolonial relationships; and discursive constitution of practices and representations of modernity.

Module learning outcomes

Systematic Understanding of Social Change.

Critical awarness of main theoretical principles behind anthropological and sociological understanding of social change.

Critical understanding of key ethnographic accounts and anthropological debates on social change and contemporary socio-cultural phenomena.

Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
EssayT1 Week 8 100.00%
Essay (4000 words)Semester 1 Assessment Week 1 Thu 16:0080.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Autumn SemesterLecture1 hour111111111111
Autumn SemesterSeminar2 hours111111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Mrs Jayne Paulin

Assess convenor

Dr Alice Wilson

Convenor, Assess convenor

Miss Emilia Roycroft

Assess convenor

Mrs Daniella Kiernan

Assess convenor

Please note that the University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver courses and modules in accordance with the descriptions set out here. However, the University keeps its courses and modules under review with the aim of enhancing quality. Some changes may therefore be made to the form or content of courses or modules shown as part of the normal process of curriculum management.

The University reserves the right to make changes to the contents or methods of delivery of, or to discontinue, merge or combine modules, if such action is reasonably considered necessary by the University. If there are not sufficient student numbers to make a module viable, the University reserves the right to cancel such a module. If the University withdraws or discontinues a module, it will use its reasonable endeavours to provide a suitable alternative module.