Politics and Sociology BA

Politics

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
LL23
Start date:
September 2018

Study in Brighton – one of UK’s most politically diverse cities – and explore power, inequality, globalisation and the role of politics in society.

You learn from experts influencing global debates from political corruption to gender inequality. You'll enjoy regular political debates featuring guest speakers. Through sociology projects you'll and develop practical research skills.

We also organise trips to Germany and France. On these trips, you can learn more about the current political scene and meet with politicians and academics.

The seminars were consistently challenging – I was exposed to a variety of views, which led me to examine my own beliefs.”Alastair Hill
Politics BA

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1 H2 H2 H3 H3

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole- Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • Politics at Sussex is ranked in the top 15 in the UK (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
  • 95% of our students were in work or further study six months after graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015).
  • Sociology at Sussex was ranked 2nd for employment prospects in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2018).

Course information

How will I study?

You learn through lectures, seminars and workshops. In your first year you study key political theories and learn where power lies in the UK and abroad.

You also carry out research in political science. Topics include:

  • British political history
  • international politics
  • contemporary issues in politics.

In sociology you examine:

  • modern life in Britain
  • social diversity
  • class and gender inequality.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

You look at how governments in countries and regions all over the world are structured differently. In your core modules you:

  • look at public policy
  • examine political texts by major political thinkers.

You also choose to examine the political structure of either France, Germany, USA, India or the European Union. You can go on fieldtrips or spend a term studying at a partner international university.

In Sociology you learn to frame sociological questions and use social research methods to find answers. In your options you explore topics including:

  • deviance
  • childhood
  • everyday life.

Trips abroad

We organise trips to Germany and France so you can learn more about the current political scene and meet with politicians and academics there.

If you study German politics, you can go on a trip to Berlin to visit the German parliament for discussions with politicians from all major parties.

You also visit other prominent historical landmarks such as the Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

“Being able to study in Canada has allowed me to appreciate just how different countries’ politics can be.” William SaundersPolitics BA
Studied abroad in University of Waterloo, Ontario

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

I’ve developed my interests via an internship with BBC News and with a political party. My degree has thoroughly prepared me to enter a globally competitive job market.”Patrick Scott
Politics BA

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period in any country or optional placement in the USA. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

You look at why political change happens and choose to focus on a topic, which could include:

  • immigration
  • political corruption
  • political parties.

You can also apply for an internship with a Westminster MP or Brighton & Hove City Council – gaining real-world experience of working in politics.

In Sociology you specialise, gaining an understanding of social change in topics such as:

  • alternative societies
  • development, human rights and security
  • identity and interaction.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Options

How politics students at Sussex engage with current political events and contemporary issues – Kai Oppermann, Politics lecturer

Fees

UK/EU students:
Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. The University intends to set fees at the maximum permitted by the UK Government (subject to continued satisfaction of the Teaching Excellence Framework). For the academic year 2017, fees were £9,250 per year.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you’ll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You’ll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website

Channel Islands and Isle of Man students:
The University aligns fees for Channel Islands and Isle of Man students with fees for UK/EU students. These fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. We intend to set fees at the maximum permitted by the UK Government (subject to continued satisfaction of the Teaching Excellence Framework). For the academic year 2017, fees were £9,250 per year.
International students:
£15,500 per year
Study abroad:
Find out about grants and funding, tuition fees and insurance costs for studying abroad
Placement:
Find out about tuition fees for placements

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Graduate destinations

95% of Department of Politics students were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates from the Departments of Politics and Sociology have gone on to jobs such as:

  • project manager, Wellmind Media
  • policy research campaign team, Citizens Advice
  • outreach intern, The Litus Foundation.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

By studying a Politics and Sociology degree at Sussex you gain the critical, analytical and practical skills for a career in politics, health and social welfare and public and human relations.

You could go into jobs such as:

  • parliamentary or think-tank researcher in the UK, EU and UN civil services
  • campaign manager for pressure groups or non-governmental organisations
  • press or communication officer.

We also offer sessions to help you apply for graduate schemes and jobs in the public, private, and voluntary sectors.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

A Sociology of 21st Century Britain

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module will use contemporary Britain as an empirical base for exploring wider sociological perspectives. As an introductory degree level sociology module the emphasis is on developing a sociological sensibility to the social world. The questions that will be posed throughout the module are how are sociological explanations derived? how do different people come to different conclusions about similar social phenomena? what is distinct about sociological explanations - as opposed to those from other disciplines?

The relationship between empiricism and theory will be explored using examples from recent sociological research. The topics chosen broadly reflect established key themes in sociology however the exemplar material will be drawn from studies no older than five years. We shall be looking at how sociologists have interrogated a range of issues in 21st century Britain including work and employment, family, sport, intimacy, life online, nationalism, death and wealth. 

The first engagement with degree level sociology should be exciting and the module is designed to demonstrate the capacity of sociology to explore the social world in interesting, challenging and critical ways.

British Political History

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module provides an overview of the major developments in British political history since 1900, focusing mainly (but not exclusively) on the post-war period. You focus on the major challenges domestic and international which have confronted political elites and masses during the period. It provides a critical understanding of some of the major debates between and within the UK's major political parties, and introduces some of the academic arguments generated by them. Politicians, and indeed political scientists, often make use of particular versions of history in order to persuade people that what they are offering is either tried and trusted or, on the other hand, new and improved. Pundits are also fond of making casual allusions to political events of the past in order to illustrate or support their arguments about the present often based on little more than second-hand knowledge and outdated received wisdom. This module provides a firm foundation of knowledge on which to build the more advanced understanding promoted by more advanced modules. And, by subjecting to critical analysis what is often taken for granted, it encourages a degree of healthy scepticism towards any references to politics in the past made in both public and academic discourse.

Explanatory Concepts in Political Science

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you gain a firm understanding of some of the basic theories of the state including majoritarian and consensus democracy, pluralism, elite theory, Marxism and public choice theory.

The module applies the theories to British politics in order to gain a better understanding of particular political interests for example: the constitutions, political parties, voting, interest groups and globalisation.

The module develops a dialogue, which confronts established theories with the changing reality of British politics.

Themes and Perspectives in Sociology I

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Modern sociology developed in the 19th century in tandem with the rise of industrial capitalist society. It had a number of key concerns that reflected the structure of – and changes in – society at the time. These concerns have continued to preoccupy sociologists in the context of contemporary societies, which have redefined key categories and experiences.

This module looks at such themes and at sociological perspectives on them as they have developed in both classical and contemporary forms of the discipline.

Foundations of Politics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

You are introduced to some of the central concepts and issues in political theory.

The module offers you an opportunity to think not just about the way politics is, but also about the way it ought to be.

We will ask questions such as 'why should we obey the state?', 'is democracy the best form of government?', and 'what makes a just society?'

We begin with some of the most fundamental and enduring questions in political theory, and we finish with some more recent debates.

The module is designed to be cumulative, so that the analysis developed in one week is built on in the weeks that follow.

By the end of the term you should have acquired a basic understanding of the central questions in political theory, and you should have begun to develop some of your own answers to these questions.

Making the Familiar Strange

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Your studies in this module are based on the question - how do sociologists do sociology?

In this module, you are introduced to epistemological and methodological issues in sociology.

From your engagement with epistemology, methodological questions arise. You address these questions, largely demonstrated through examples.

As part of the module, you explore particular epistemological approaches and reflect on worked examples of these.

You do this by counterpoising classic sociological studies with contemporary examples - critically examining the similarities and differences in epistemological and methodological approaches.

The examples you look at in this module open up space for discussion about appropriate ways of understanding social phenomena with particular ontological and epistemological frames.

Research Skills and Methods in Political Science

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module is designed to introduce you to some of the fundamental issues faced by scholars as they try to analyse the political world around them.  We begin by examining the discipline of political science, what 'studying politics', and introduce some of the key terms such as epistemology, behaviouralism, quantitative methods.

You will be introduced to the basics of quantitative methods and the advantages and disadvantages of using surveys, questionnaires and statistical packages to analyse real world political activity. 

The next set of lectures analyse a completely different mode of enquiry; those based on interpretist understandings of political affairs. There are, obviously, all sorts of ways of collecting evidence to support your case/answer a question, and some of the most popular involve doing interviews, focus groups, simple participation etc. We discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of using these methods, analysing why they are chosen in the first place and how they link with more quantitative approaches. 

By the end of the module, you should have an enhanced understanding of what the political science discipline is, how political scholars conduct their research and how they reach the conclusions that they do. You should also be able to critically interpret many of the claims and counter-claims, often based on statistical indicators, that are a feature of contemporary political debate.

Most of the lectures will necessarily focus on presenting various, often rather abstract, concepts and procedures. However, the relevance of these in modern political analysis will be demonstrated by incorporating practical exercises in which the concepts and methods learnt will be applied in seminars and computer workshops.

Themes and Perspectives in Sociology II

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Modern sociology developed in the 19th century in tandem with the rise of industrial capitalist society. It had a number of key concerns that reflected the structure of – and changes in – society at the time. These concerns have continued to preoccupy sociologists in the context of contemporary societies, which have redefined key categories and experiences.

This module looks at such themes and at sociological perspectives on them as they have developed in both classical and contemporary forms of the discipline.

Doing Social Research: working with quantitative data

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The aim of this module is to introduce students to different ways of designing and doing social research. In this part we focus on basic features of quantitative survey research, both analysing other people's research (using secondary data) and creating your own. In Part II we focus on different methods of qualitative data collection and analysis. The aim of the module is to give you important skills for life as well as the labour market, and more prosaically to prepare you to carry out project work in the third year. In both halves of this module you build up activities week by week to carry out a kind of 'pilot' or 'mini-project' on a topic of your choice. This is more closely supported than in year 3: you will discuss ideas for the project in your workshops; you will be helped to apply for ethical review; you will have formative feedback on your proposals and your research instruments (in this case surveys) and lots of help in workshops to bring it all together.

European Politics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The political map of contemporary Europe is changing rapidly and fundamentally, as the traditional boundaries between East and West and between domestic and international governance break down.

This module aims to provide a pan-European introduction to the continent's politics, rooted in a comparative rather than a country-by-country approach. After setting the historical and socio-economic context, it moves on to tackle not just institutions (the nation-state, government and policy-making, legislatures, parties, pressure groups and the media) but also issues – participation, immigration, the supposed blurring of the left-right divide, and Europe in the world.

Modern Political Thought

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module addresses some of the most important texts in the history of western political philosophy. It covers the work of seven major political thinkers and aims to provide you with knowledge of the broad contours of modern political thought from the 17th to the 20th century. You will develop your ability to analyse philosophical arguments and to situate the texts studied in the appropriate historical contexts. Throughout, the aim will be to encourage close textual reading whilst developing an awareness of the wider themes and concepts that inform modern political thought.

Doing Social Research: working with qualitative data

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

You will be introduced to thinking about how to conduct sociological research using different methods. In this part you will focus on qualitative approaches. You will be introduced to debates in the social sciences related to research design, epistemology and studying sensitive and ethical issues, and will get practical experience in key methods for gathering and analysing qualitative data including interviewing, participant observation and textual analysis. Assessment will include a mini- or 'pilot' project carried out using one method.

Beyond the Vote: Citizenship and Participation in Sociology

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

Citizenship and participation is a module looking at the sociology of political involvement beyond the vote. It introduces different forms and sites of citizenship in the contemporary state - in relation to welfare, health, work, consumption, family life and the city or urban community - and also considers different expressions of social or civic activism, from volunteering to violent protest. The use and limitations of direct democratic experiments is examined, through analysis of various types of deliberative forum and citizen polling, and we consider the appeal of notions of 'responsibility' and 'choice'. You will learn through examining specific cases each week.

Classical Sociological Theory

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The aim of this module is to provide a reasonably comprehensive introduction to classical sociological theories and theorists and issues arising from their work. We will cover classical sociological theory from its origins in the Enlightenment period to the post World War II period. The module is concerned with these broad movements of thought with a focus on specific theorists and a close reading of extracts from classic texts. You will acquire an in-depth knowledge of the work of major classical sociological theorists.

Migration and Integration (Aut)

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you examine key questions and theoretical approaches related to the process of migration, the integration of migrants and their children in their societies of settlement, and their ongoing connections to the home communities.

These aspects are addressed in comparative perspective and illustrated with studies from Western Europe and North America.

Looking at the experience of documented and undocumented migrants, low-skilled and high-skilled workers, intra-European mobility and lifestyle migration, you:

  • develop an appreciation for the increasing variety and complexity of migration and integration patterns.
  • explore discussions of migrants' integration at destination and their 'home'-oriented ties and practices, evaluating the possibility, benefits, and constraints of living in more than one society.

You learn about:

  • the determinants and process of migration, highlighting the role of networks in migration decisions, routes, and destinations.
  • the context of reception by looking at state responses and attempts to control migration, and reactions to newcomers from the local population.
  • patterns of integration of migrants and their children.
  • theoretical models and studies on how migrants settle and fare in their host society, from an economic and socio-cultural perspective.
  • recent, transnationalist, approaches that bring migrants' home society into focus and emphasise the continuity of ties with the place of origin.
  • migrants' cross-border practices, activities and identities
  • how migration transforms home communities.

You also question if integration in the host society and transnational engagement are competing or compatible processes.

Resistance Movements in Conflict & War

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you examine the sociology of war by investigating the intersection between violence, politics, social and economic issues, and human rights.

You undertake a sociological and criminological exploration of various groups throughout history who have 'broken the law' in order to achieve some type of positive social change.

You explore a range of interesting academic theories and concepts, including social movement theory, resistance theory, and other related issues around collective behaviour, rational choice theory, and framing, for example.

You put these theories into context by studying various groups who achieved what is now generally deemed to be positive social change throughout history. These may include various resistance movements against the Third Reich during World War II, and Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, for example.

You also examine changing political and social values, ideologies and goals of resistance movements, where support and condemnation have been attached to
the same group over a relatively short period of time, including the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Sociology of Everyday Life

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The aim of this module is to encourage you to think sociologically about everyday life, by 'making the familiar strange'. You are asked to suspend any taken for granted assumptions you have about the rules and routines of social life, and instead to question these patterns of behaviour from the perspective of an external observer.

The module will introduce you to some of the key theories of interpretivist social theory, such as ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism, and encourage you to look for the unspoken rules and norms of behaviour that govern social life in different contexts. Thus the substantive topics to be covered include the home and domestic routines, interaction on the street, shopping and consumption, eating and drinking rituals, time and schedules, shyness and embarrassment, holidays and leisure, and the sociology of sleep. There will be a session about (and where possible, a visit to) the Mass Observation archive, which you will be encouraged to use as a source of data. An exercise will be set each week relating to the topics; the collection of these exercises will be submitted as part of the assessment task. You will also be asked to give a non-assessed presentation on a text from one week of the module.

Sociology of Medicine and Health

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The module begins by considering the relationship between socio-economic inequality and health outcomes industrialiSed countries, especially in Britain. You then examines the role played by the state, and the National Health Service in particular, in the heath of the nation. The position of medical and health professionals is also analysed in order to understand processes of professionalization and medicalization. Attention then turns to medicines themselves, how they are tested for safety and effectiveness by the pharmaceutical industry and how this process in regulated by governments. The implications of pharmaceuticals and drug prescribing for public health will be carefully scrutinised. You will also gain sociological insights into reproductive technologies and some of the health and social implications of the 'new genetics'. Finally, the module discussed lay public and mass media perspectives on medicine.

Politics of Governance: East Asia

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module studies government in East Asia (both Northeast and Southeast Asia) covering the great diversity of polities in the region ranging from totalitarian systems (for example, China and North Korea), to 'soft' authoritarian states (for example, Singapore and Malaysia), to 'defective' democracies (for example, Indonesia and Thailand) and fully consolidated democratic regimes (for example, Japan and South Korea). We will analyse political systems through general frameworks of comparative politics to discuss two principal questions: How can existing theories help us further our understanding of Asian politics? And, conversely, how can the study of Asian politics contribute to theory building in political science? The analysis will be framed around key concepts such as political parties, elections, corruption and civil-military relations.

Politics of Governance: Eastern Europe

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module begins by examining the kind of legacies that the communist period left in these countries before moving on to consider their institutional structures and party and electoral politics of the new post-communist democracies. You then considers some of the major issues raised by the process of post-communist democratisation. These include: how to deal with functionaries of the previous non-democratic regime, how to introduce radical economic reform, and how to accommodate the existence of the numerous ethnic minorities that most of these states encompass? The impact of attempts to integrate into Euro-Atlantic international structures (the EU and NATO) on Central and East European domestic politics is considered before a final session that attempts to evaluate the nature of the regimes that are emerging in the region.

Politics of Governance: France

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Democracy in France has a troubled history, which continues to impact on contemporary politics in significant ways that have contributed to the representation of France as being in many ways 'exceptional'. This idea of 'the French Exception' will serve as a context for this module, which aims to give you a basic understanding of the institutions, policies and issues which dominate political life in France today. The module uses current affairs in France as its starting point in order to encourage engagement, and will use this to build up a grasp of the institutional framework in which political power operates. Important themes to be analysed will be: institutional and constitutional change, party dynamics, and policy reforms.

Politics of Governance: Germany

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The overall intellectual aim of this module is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the structure and norms of governance in the Federal Republic of Germany. The module examines the structure of German governance post-1945, looking at the formal codified arrangements of German federalism and the relationship between the constitution, parties and the wider polity. Particular emphasis is placed on Germany's role within the broader international community and the effects that unification has had on the structures and practices of German governance. We will also look at two particular policy fields (foreign policy, asylum and immigration policy) in order to see how the structures of governance affect policy making and policy development in individual policy areas. Learning objectives are specified by week for each topic. You should use these to think about when reading the material and preparing for each seminar.

Politics of Governance: India

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The politics and governance component of the politics degrees concentrates on the relationship between political institutions and the wider society. This module is concerned with the ability of institutions such as structures of governance, bureaucracies and political parties to adapt to changing circumstances and respond to demands from interest groups while dealing with the ongoing pressures of social and economic development in India. 

This module will be divided into two main parts. The first part will deal with India's political history and independence with a focus on analysing the institutional mechanisms of governance in the country. We will look at the design of the Indian constitution at independence, examining its key features such as federalism, secularism and the choice of political and electoral system. The module would also examine and evaluate how key constitutional features have functioned in India to support governance and its democracy. We also analyse the evolution of the party system in India focusing on its key features, attributes, determinants and the linkages between the national and the sub-national party systems. 

The second part of the module will analyse the key instruments of governance in India: the legislatures, bureaucracy, judiciary, army and the election commission. We will examine the ability of these institutions to support governance in a highly complex political and social environment. The focus will be on the relationship between politics and economy, politics and society, and politics and conflict. 

The module primarily uses an empirical approach but also presents relevant theoretical constructs and some comparative analysis to provide you with a rich insight into the politics of governance in India.

Politics of Governance: International Institutions and Issues

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module critically analyses the evolution of the international institutional order since World War II up to contemporary times. It examines the emergence and transformations of these bodies in the face of evolving and emerging issues and challenges. You will focus on institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, as well as non-state actors and then gauge and assess their response to the issues and challenges in their respective fields of competence (for example, the environment, global ethics, intervention, failing states, self-determination, the changing nature of war and global governance).

Politics of Governance: The European Union

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module treats the EU as a system of governance and examines it on that basis looking at the nature of executive, legislative and judicial politics as well as looking at the nature of interest representation and examining the nature of democracy in the EU and the impact of the EU on European states. It does so the basis of a variety of theoretical accounts derived from international relations and political science that have been applied to the EU

Politics of Governance: USA

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines four approaches to understanding contemporary US politics that emphasise the role of institutions, ideas, individuals and interests. These approaches are applied to the three main institutions of the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court and to the nature of political parties and voting in the US.

Power, Deviance and Othering

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module falls into two parts. In the first part, the concepts of crime, deviance and social control will be considered alongside the exploration of the sociological explanations for the existence of crime and deviance in society. The module will also critically examine the data sources used to support these perspectives. In the second part of the module, these perspectives will be applied to the study of substantive areas of deviance comprising institutions of social control (the police, the courts and prisons); the distribution of crime and the use of official statistics; the mass media; juvenile delinquency; mental illness; and sexuality.

Race: Conflict and Change

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will examine and explore the issues of race, racism, racial conflict and race relations in contemporary Britain (Please note: although we will mainly refer to Britain, examples from other countries in Europe and the West will be frequently used). Beginning with colonial discourses of the racial 'other', the post-1945 period following the start of mass colonial immigration to Britain, through to the present day you will examine the various historical, social, political, economic and cultural forces and processes through which the concept of race and the racialised subject have been constructed, shaped and changed over time.

The module is taught through lectures and seminars, each focusing on a particular historical, social, political, cultural or theoretical topic, issue and problem related to race in Britain. These range from: the construction and status of race through various discourses and contexts of colonialism, immigration and multiculturalism, issues of identity, representation, power, equality and difference, the relationship between race and other social-political identifications, categories and divisions such as nationality, class, gender, ethnicity and religion, the relationship between race and the law, crime and civil unrest, the history of racial conflict and the development of anti-racist activism, policies and legislation, forms of cultural politics, expression and resistance and, finally, current issues and debates concerning the status of race in Britain.

Resistance Movements in Conflict & War

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module will examine the sociology of war by investigating the intersection between violence, politics, social and economic issues, and human rights. It will be a sociological and criminological exploration of various groups throughout history who have 'broken the law' in order to achieve some type of positive social change.

The module will explore a range of interesting academic theories and concepts, including social movement theory, resistance theory, and other related issues around collective behaviour, rational choice theory, and framing, for example.

These theories will be put into context by studying various groups who achieved what is now generally deemed to be positive social change throughout history, including various resistance movements against the Third Reich during the second world war, and Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress.

The module will also examine changing political and social values, ideologies and goals of resistance movements, where support and condemnation have been attached to the same group over a relatively short period of time, including the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Sociology of Globalisation (Spr)

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module looks at the social, cultural, political and economic aspects of globalisation. The module will examine the meaning and definition of globalisation and its history since premodern times to the present day. It will assess perspectives on globalisation from globalist to sceptical and at the critical theories of sociologists such as Bauman and Bourdieu. It will examine the growth of global media corporations and discuss whether these impose western cultural imperialism or if global culture is more heterogenous and hybrid because of globalisation. We will look at causes and patterns of migration and whether migration has the negative effects it is often portrayed as producing. The module will examine the experience of globalisation in global cities. We will assess whether the world economy has been globalised and globalisation is a solution to global inequality and poverty. The module will examine whether globalisation has eroded national democracy and autonomy and whether it leads to neoliberal policies being imposed on nation-states. We will discuss global social movements and global protest. We will assess the balance of global power between states such as the USA and China and at the future of war and conflict globally.

Alternative Societies (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Socologists often analyse and criticise the world, and this module examines the alternative societies implied by sociological assessments and criticisms. We will look at alternative societies such as:

  • communist and other kinds of non-capitalist and non-market societies
  • libertarian and decentralised societies
  • communes and alternative types of living.

The module will cover areas such as alternative education, alternative economies and co-ops, participatory types of political organisation, non-patriarchal society, non-racist society, alternative societies for developing countries, green and sustainable societies, societies without work, society without borders, media, technology and alternative societies, and the politics of transition to alternatives. We will look at the role of sociology as critical, utopian and normative.

Death of Socialism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module looks at the contemporary condition of socialism following the collapse of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the erosion of the central principles of Western social democracy and the prevalence of free market and capitalist ideas at the start of the century. Is socialism a relevant, feasible or desirable idea in contemporary society? Or is it dead, merely a historical relic of the 20th century?

We will start by looking at the two predominant conceptions and experiences of socialism of the twentieth century - ­ Marxist and social democratic socialism. What are the main features of these models of socialism? You will then examine criticisms of socialism from liberals and libertarians ­ such as Hayek and Nozick ­ and from new social movements ­ such as the women's movement and the green movement. What critical points are raised by these perspectives and how telling are they? We will look at reasons for the collapse of state socialism in the late 1980s and at attempts in the West to rethink socialism during an era in which neo­liberalism was a predominant force. Do liberal and new social movements' criticisms and the collapse of state socialism suggest that socialism is dead? Do attempts to redefine socialism (as market socialism or radical democratic socialism) escape the criticisms of liberals and the new social movements and the problems experienced under old social democracy and state socialism? Or do they indicate that the era of socialism has well and truly passed?

In the final two topics we shall address this question a little more. We will examine the attempt of New Labour and current European social democrats to respond to the crisis of social democracy and will ask whether there is anything remaining of socialism in such attempts. And we shall examine theses such as that of Fukuyama: that the day of socialism has passed and that capitalism has won the battle.

Identity and Interaction

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores microsociological theories of the self, social identity and social interaction, drawing particularly on Symbolic Interactionism and Goffman's dramaturgical theory. The aim is to show how the ostensibly private world of individual selfhood is created and shaped by social processes, culture and interaction order.

The first half of the module examines different approaches to understanding identity: from the philosophy of mind and personhood, through theories of group membership and categorisation; narrative and biographical models of the 'storied self'; performativity; and poststructuralist ideas about identity fragmentation, multiplicity and the discursive constitution of subjectivities.

The second part of the module looks in detail at two related theories of social interaction - Symbolic Interactionism and Goffman's dramaturgy - and their empirical applications, using illustrative examples from published studies. Topics covered here include: role-making, taking, play and conflict; meanings, gestures and symbols; strangers and outsiders; Goffman's theatrical analogy; behaviour in public places (etiquette, civility and interaction rituals); deviant and stigmatised identities; the negotiated order of institutional life; and secrecy, lies, betrayal and deception.

The module will be assessed by a 6,000 word essay, in the form of either a critical commentary on the social formation of one type of social identity or a reflexive portfolio of self-identity.

Migration, Identity, and Home

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Photography and Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Political Change: Eastern Europe in Transition

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Political Change: India

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Indian politics, society and economy have undergone substantial changes since the country's independence in 1947. Today India is an important emerging economy with a well developed party system and has a reasonable record of holding regular elections. Indian democracy has been an important area of research for scholars, especially with regard to its ability to survive and function amidst high social heterogeneity, widespread poverty and illiteracy. It is an interesting case to further our insights into the dynamics of political change in a large country amidst multiple social cleavages, significant intra-country differences and an evolving party system. 

This module explores key themes in Indian politics and society to understand the process of political change since its independence. You will analyse how the relationship between political actors and the wider society has been transformed through the rise of ethnic parties and identity politics, the growing importance of state-level parties and civil society movements. It explores how political parties are faced with the need to respond to demands from these organised interests and social movements. 

The key themes analysed in this module are:

  • The transformation of Indian party system from single party dominated system to a fragmented and multi-party competitive system
  • Political importance of socially underprivileged groups, ethnic parties and identity politics
  • The increased prominence of regional parties and emergence of coalition politics
  • The growing influence of civil society, mass movements and media
  • The key challenges facing the Indian nation


While exploring the key themes above the module analyses major factors that have led to political change and the ways in which this change has affected political actors in India. The module primarily uses an empirical approach but also presents relevant theoretical constructs and some comparative analysis to provide you with a rich insight into the politics of change in India.

Political Change: Political Parties and Party Systems

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you look at the factors behind political change within political parties and party systems.

You examine the development of political parties and their importance in modern advanced industrial democracies in Western Europe - and learn how to use theoretical and analytical models to study parties and party systems in a wide range of countries. 

Topics include: 

  • examining where political parties and party systems were formed and how they have changed over time
  • investigating the role of political parties
  • exploring if political parties are fulfilling the functions that democracy requires of them.

Political Change: The European Union as a Global Actor

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The emergence, over the last five and a half decades, of the European Union as a global actor of real relevance forms the basis for this module. It will chart and critically analyse this process of change from a community of six member states consumed with internal economic priorities to a union of 27 member states (and growing) whose decisions frequently have a global reach and whose troops  have undertaken missions in south-east Europe, Central Africa and the Far East. What have been the key actors and factors behind this transformation? And where is this process of political change headed? The tutor will encourage and assist you in tackling these and other related questions in a critical manner. The module will cover the following distinct but related topics: foreign policy integration at EU level and its limits; the impact of new member states; the militarization of the Union; the EU and crisis management; the EU and conflict prevention; the impact of the USA and Russia on this process of change; and the soft power/hard power debate.

Political Change: the Evolution of Post War European Integration

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores in depth the historical development of the European Union. In doing so, it provides an opportunity to review the various debates which have emerged within the social sciences and history about the dynamics of integration, the motivations of policy-makers and the influence of different actors. Drawing upon a range of concepts and approaches from those disciplines, the module focuses on a series of milestones, turning points and crises in the evolution of the EU.

Sociology of Care: caring and work (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Explore the question of how and why people 'care' for each other and who gets 'cared for' in different social settings.

You study concepts and theories from a range of perspectives including feminist social theory, sociology of nursing, health and illness and disability studies.

You explore experiences of care giving and receiving by family and professionals through a range of empirical cases.

You will also study debates about:

  • the value and cost of care work and emotional labour
  • the commodification of care
  • the implications of new populations in need of care
  • the concept of vulnerability and its intersection with care needs and provision
  • the meaning of care across the life course with particular reference to people with specific disabilities or chronic health conditions.

Sociology of Fun (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module introduces you to the idea of a sociology of fun, where fun will be treated as a key component of modern social relations. This is a completely new area of sociological enquiry – you will be involved in social science as it is being developed.

Whilst there is a large literature on well-being, psychological and physical health and leisure – addressed in the module – there is almost no social scientific literature on experiences of fun. Early work on 'fun morality' disappeared by the end of the 1950s, as concerns about the longer term implications of good health, well-being and (more recently) happiness – related to discourses of the productive worker – came to dominate writing on the positive and negative aspects of our socio-emotional lives.

This module addresses a central theme – that the under representation of fun in literature is because of a social representation of it as frivolous and fleeting. Throughout the module this is counterpoised with data illustrating the importance placed on fun by a variety of people in a variety of settings.

Here fun will be presented as something distinct from well-being and happiness due to the temporal impermanence of the phenomenal experience. But fun resonates through the telling and re-telling of the experience of having fun – which in itself stimulates fun.

Sociology Research Proposal

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The aim of this module is to give you direct experience of carrying out a small-scale research project, from the initial stages of design to the final stages of presenting your findings. It is intended to consolidate and build upon the knowledge base gained from the DSR research methods module in the second year, as you will use these skills to research a topic of your choice. You will be assessed on how well you interpret and apply the relevant methodological issues to your research design, manage the practical side of the project, and reflect on the effectiveness of your chosen strategies. You work mainly through independent study, under the guidance of a supervisor. The assessment consists of a research proposal, presentation and 8000-word written report.

The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you look at sociological, criminological, socio-legal and cultural approaches in order to study capital punishment.

You will engage with a 'cultures of punishment' perspective on the death penalty, drawing on capital punishment scholars such as David Garland (2010), Austin Sarat (2001) and Franklin Zimring (2003).

This perspective emphasises the need to understand the symbolic meanings generated by punishment and how these relate to social change.

You also study capital punishment in its historical and contemporary contexts. After establishing this theoretical framework, you study a broadly chronological approach from the nineteenth-century to the present.

You explore the following topics:

  • spectacle and public execution
  • the campaign to end public executions
  • mid twentieth-century abolitionism
  • public views on capital punishment in England
  • American reinstatement of the death penalty
  • cultural portrayals of capital punishment
  • women and the death penalty
  • 'new abolitionism' and the innocence movement in the United States
  • European cosmopolitan identity and the campaign for worldwide abolition
  • current use of the death penalty worldwide with a focus on Singapore, Japan and China.

You mainly focus on European countries and the United States, although the final topic includes a wider international dimension.

Contemporary Social Theory (Spr)

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module provides a critical assessment of the some of the most prominent sociological theorists in the late 20th century. This period can be described as post-classical in the sense that the various schools of classical sociological theory associated with Marx, Weber, Durkheim and their later followers gave way to a range of new approaches such as those linked to post-structuralism, such as Foucault - as well as to new interpretations of the classical approaches, such as social constructionism, western Marxism and critical theory. The central aim of the module is to show how contemporary thinkers have understood the major transformations in modern society (ie from industrial to post-industrial society, globalisation, new social movements such as feminism, environmental movements, identity politics). This will involve a consideration of some of the most important debates in sociological theory, such as the debates about modernity versus postmodernity, structure versus agency as well as the influence of psychoanalytic social theory emanating from feminist theory and from post-structuralism.

The weekly topics include: social constructionism; Foucault and govementality; Habermas and critical theory; recognition theory (Honneth); marxism after postmodernism; Bourdieu and recent French sociology; poststructuralism and psychoanalysis: Derrida, Lacan, Deleuze; Bauman's postmodern ethics; network theory: Latour and Castells; theories of modernity; cosmopolitanism and social theory; culture and social theory (performativity, Alexander).

Development, Human Rights and Security (Spr)

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Human rights, development and security are essential to current international social and political concerns and are becoming ever more interlinked. This module sets out to consider from a critical perspective recent intellectual developments in the field with a view to answering contemporary social and political questions through analytically rigorous and empirically grounded approaches. The module is comprised of three core sections: development, human rights and security, each of which cover pressing current affairs informed by classical and contemporary theory. It will take you through the evolution of development theory starting with the classical approaches and ending with intellectual challenges from post-development theory and feminism. It will then move onto an equally critical analysis of the intellectual evolution of human rights and its contemporary application before exploring the topical themes of securitisation, terrorism and transnational Islam in the post-9/11 period.

Foreign Policy Analysis in Comparative Perspective

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module provides you with the analytical skills to critically investigate the foreign policies of different countries in Europe and beyond. The first part of the module will introduce the academic field of foreign policy analysis and familiarise you with its most important methods and theories. Specifically, the module will cover theoretical approaches on the international, state and individual level of analysis. It will unpack the process of foreign policy decision-making in order to identify the most significant actors and influences on different types of foreign policy decisions. The second part of the module will explore key issues in foreign policy analysis. We will compare and contrast the foreign policies of different countries and discuss variations in the foreign policy outlook of small, middle and great powers. We will also look into some of the most pressing topics on the current foreign policy agenda in different issue areas such as military interventions, the fight against terrorism and the foreign policy implications of globalisation or the protection of human rights. In discussing these topics particular emphasis will be placed on theory-guided analysis. While the module has a regional focus on the foreign policies of selected European countries we will also cover issues related to the foreign policies of the US and the rising powers.

Ideas of Progress and Decline in Modern British Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Ideas about progress and decline are central to political discourse. This module focuses on how they have been used in modern Britain. You will gain an overview of the main ideological theories about progress and decline and explore how they have informed political debates about Britain's economy, culture and society. You will also examine how concepts of absolute and relative progress and decline have shaped understandings of Britain's place in the world.

Immigration and the Liberal State

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you examine why immigration has become one of the most contested issues on the political agenda of liberal states across Europe and North America.

You look at representative democracy, constitutionalism, capitalism, and nationhood - and examine how these generate conflicting imperatives for immigration policymaking, which lead to contradictory policies.

You develop an understanding of how immigration policies in liberal democracies are shaped and study recent trends in the immigration, citizenship and integration policies of immigrant-receiving countries in Europe and North America.

Independent Study/Internship Option

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This option provides an opportunity for you to carry out your own research project - working independently but with the help of a project tutor. In order to be accepted onto this option you produce a project outline by the end of you second year which needs to be approved by the module convenor. This many be linked to a period as an intern in the place of work (eg, in a local authority or at Westminster).

Migration, Identity, and Home

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Europeans have become increasingly mobile in recent years.

In this module, you explore how being part of the European Union affects the lives and identities of ordinary European citizens 'on the move'.

Specifically, you examine intra-European forms of mobility, tracing the experiences of different categories of EU citizens who take advantage of the 'freedom of movement' or aspire to do so, from Erasmus students and holiday makers to professionals, lower-skilled workers, and lifestyle migrants.

Drawing on migration and Europeanisation studies, you look at whether and how cross-border mobility affects Europeans' sense of identity, and engenders forms of belonging beyond the 'national'.

Political Corruption

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The objective of this module is to shed some light on the dark side of politics by developing analytical and theoretical tools that will allow us to analyse corruption across both time and space. We begin by analysing exactly what we understand by ‘corrupt’ behaviour and how this appears to differ (often quite starkly) across national boundaries. Are humans naturally corrupt? If so, does this matter? Is corrupt behaviour absolute and universal or does it depend on location and context? Indeed, can corruption sometimes even be a good thing?

Armed with the analytical tools aimed at unpacking the complex phenomenon of political corruption, we examine specific examples of corruption across the developed world, ranging from systematic abuses of power by parties and politicians to small-scale, almost trivial, petty misdemeanours. This analysis then provides a foundation for examining what reforms might contribute to lessening instances of political corruption in the western world.

Populism and Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Populism is a widely used term in politics but rarely conceptualised in political science. This module explores the phenomenon of populism and its relationship to politics and particularly to representative politics and considers populism, its meaning, its causes and effects in a systematic and comparative way. Populism is understood in its widest possible sense in this module so that we explore populism of the right and of the left and we examine a wider range of disparate cases of populism from different parts of the world. The module has essentially two elements: the first is the examination of a range of different examples of populist movements, moments, personalities and parties (eg from Russia, North America, Latin America and Europe). The second element is to examine the conceptualisation of populism and to engage with the debates about whether to and how to define populism. The module will be empirically oriented allowing you to develop interests in a small number of cases with an eye to clarifying your positions on the wider conceptual debates regarding populism.

Sociology Project

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The aim of this module is to give you direct experience of carrying out a small scale research project, from the initial stages of design to the final stages of presenting your findings. It is intended to consolidate and build upon the knowledge base gained from the DSR research methods module in the second year, as you will use these skills to research a topic of your choice. You will be assessed on how well you interpret and apply the relevant methodological issues to your research design, manage the practical side of the project, and reflect on the effectiveness of your chosen strategies. You work mainly through independent study, under the guidance of a supervisor. The assessment consists of a research proposal, presentation and 8,000 word written report.

Surveillance, Security and Control

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you examine key developments and controversies in surveillance and security.

You focus on the deployment of surveillance in diverse contexts including:

  • crime control
  • national security
  • welfare
  • border control
  • consumption.

You are introduced to a range of historical, theoretical and empirical contexts that advance your understanding and the critical analysis of surveillance in society.

Through specific case studies - including DNA databases; the Snowden Affair; the 'internet of things' and military surveillance - you are encouraged to analyse contemporary surveillance trends in the light of shifting constellations of power, politics, resistance and control.

The Body: current controversies and debates

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The body has recently become a key focus for sociological theorising and research. Much of this work has focused on defining the body as a socially constructed phenomenon, and exploring how it is produced through various social and cultural practices and discourses, and categories such as gender, class, race and sexual orientation. However, the body is also highly politically charged; a key site at which oppression is meted out, and is a focus of regulation and governance at individual, group, national and international levels. Bodies, and particularly women's bodies, are also at the nexus of some of the most controversial debates of our time.  

This module looks at the politics of the body from a sociological point of view, exploring themes of embodiment and power through a variety of controversial issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual violence, sex work, abortion, cosmetic surgery and eugenics. You will think through various debates in relation to a broad canon of theories from feminism and sociology, around notions such as rights, bodily autonomy and integrity, structures and discourses, and the formation and regulation of identities. Gender will be a central thread throughout, and attention will be paid to how it intersects with other social categories such as class, 'race', sexual orientation, age, and (dis)ability.
 
 

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