Sociology

Identity, Crisis and Transgression (Spr)

Module code: L4103B
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

How do we understand ourselves? How closely is our sense of self related to other people? What happens to a person’s self-conception when their sense of self is systematically attacked and undermined? How do people respond to experiences of trauma and personal loss and what kind of psychological strategies of survival do people rely on in order to continue living a meaningful life? The module starts by considering some of the main social psychological theories of the self and self-awareness before moving on to contemplate the darker side of the self specifically addressed in the work of Erich Fromm and David Riesman.

The lectures cover a range of influential social theorists and examine a diverse range of contemporary perspectives on the formation and maintenance of self-identity in contemporary society. We will examine why some individuals deliberately choose to engage in behaviour that transgresses everyday boundaries and also consider how people respond when their sense of identity is systematically attacked and undermined. This module draws on a wide range of up-to-date research and introduces you to a variety of theoretical perspectives.

This module assumes no prior knowledge of the literature and will be of relevance to anyone interested in studying the nature of identity in modern society.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of interdisiplinary research on identity
  • Apply theoretical arguments on identity to empirical examples
  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of empirical research on identity
  • Critically evaluate recent theoretical arguments on the nature of self and identity, including understanding the limits of these arguments.