International Relations and Sociology BA

Sociology

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB
UCAS code:
LL2H
Start date:
September 2018

By combining international relations and sociology, you study central questions about society, politics and nation-states in a global context. 

Learn from experts whose research is making a difference to communities across the world – from human rights to gender inequality.

Sussex is a truly global community. Even the location enables me to know more about the world.”Lam Hon Sing (Benson)
International Relations BA 

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB

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 the Access to HE Diploma with at least 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above of which 30 credits must be at Distinction. 

 

Subjects

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

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

34 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

AAABB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AA 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

34 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

 

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of 80%

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 6.5.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 14/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 1.8 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 H1 H2 H2 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 85/100.

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 4.5.

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?

  • One of Europe’s largest dedicated International Relations departments.
  • 94% for overall satisfaction for International Relations (National Student Survey 2016).
  • 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 about the importance of international relations in the modern world, and key themes and perspectives in sociology.

In international relations, you study topics including:

  • different approaches to the study of international relations
  • the major events of modern international history
  • the role and purpose of theory and its relevance to major issues in international relations.

You also explore sociological work examining contemporary life in Britain and beyond. This includes looking at social diversity, and class and gender inequalities.

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?

By learning how to use the concepts, approaches and methods of the international relations you develop an understanding of the contested nature of discipline.

You study areas such as contemporary international theory and global political economy, and choose options to suit your interests.

You learn to frame sociological questions and use appropriate social research methods to find answers. You can explore arguments and evidence relating to different aspects of life, including:

  • everyday life, childhood and deviance
  • medicine, health and migration
  • political institutions and action.

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.

“My year abroad has instilled in me new confidence and enthusiasm. I feel better equipped for my final year.” Eva Brittin-SnellInternational Relations
Studied abroad at University of Ottawa Canada

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.

“Not only did I get to attend meetings at European institutions but I also improved my French. It made me a more confident and capable person.” Ioana BadeaInternational Relations BA, Research Executive, FleishmanHilliard, Brussels

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 develop expertise in the international relations areas of your choice and pursue independent research – via a dissertation – under the supervision of a member of faculty.  

The size and scope of our Department means you have a wide range of options to choose from, including in-depth studies of specific world regions.

Sociology options allow you to study contemporary sociological theory covering identity, fun and care. You can learn about social change, and topics such as:

  • alternative societies
  • humans and other animals
  • development, human rights and security.

Modules

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

Options

Fees

Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. Note that your fees, once they’re set, may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

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.

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

91% of recent Department of International Relations graduates were in work or further study six months after completing their degrees. Students have started jobs as:

  • programme and office assistant, Concern Universal
  • account assistant, Freuds
  • graduate trainee business support officer, Poplar Harca.

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

Your future career

Develop communication, analytical and critical thinking skills with an International Relations and Sociology degree.

These skills mean you could go into graduate jobs at health and social welfare, and work for employers such as:

  • the Civil Service and government
  • non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • charities and voluntary organisations.

You also benefit from career events where you can meet employers, find out more about UK and international jobs and graduate jobs, and get advice on applying for graduate schemes and preparing for assessment centres.

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.

Introduction to International Relations

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to the academic study of international relations. The module outlines the specific characteristics of International Relations (IR) as a distinct scholarly discipline, separate from other disciplines such as politics or sociology. The module considers what has defined IR as a discipline and what constitutes its core conceptual and methodological coordinates at the present time. The module approaches these questions through a consideration of the historical development of IR through a series of conceptual and methodological debates. Classically these debates are conceived of as tracing a path from idealism via realism to a pluralist methodological position. Understanding these debates, the circumstances that have given rise to them, and the methods they have generated will give you a good orientation in the disciplinary terrain of IR that will help them in contextualising the ideas they will encounter in the international theory courses in Years 1 and 2.

The Rise of the Modern International Order

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Today we take it for granted that the peoples and governments of the world are linked in a single international system. Yet it was only during 'the long 19th century' that, for the first time in history, a truly 'world' politics began to emerge. This module examines how this came about by reviewing some major events and process of international history in the period from 1789 to 1914.

It begins with the international impact of the French revolution and the industrial revolution, and moves on to the formation of nation-states in Europe and outside. It analyses the role played by Great Britain in organising the Victorian international system, as well as the occupation of the non-European world by European imperialism. Finally, the module reflects upon the combination of factors that caused this 'long 19th century' to end in the carnage of the Great War. At the same time, by looking at some of the major controversies that historians have had about how to understand these events, the module also raises key questions about the nature of historical knowledge itself.

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.

Classical Political Theory & International Relations

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module will introduce you to the primary texts of authors such as Hobbes, Kant, Machiavelli, Marx, Mill, Thucydides, Vitoria and others who are commonly cited as precursors of contemporary international thought. It asks what relevance these authors have had for the establishment of International Relations as a discipline, and how far they can be used to analyse contemporary international politics. Finally, the module demonstrates how classical authors can also be read to provide a radical critique of contemporary international thought and practice.

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.

The Short Twentieth Century and Beyond

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Few periods in history have been more tumultuous than the 20th century, racked almost from start to finish by wars, revolutions and global ideological conflicts. In the same period, however, the international system also developed new mechanisms of stability and international organisation - the League of Nations and the United Nations, the 'Bretton Woods' institutions and, increasingly, European integration. This module reviews some major international events and processes of 'the short 20th century' (1914-1989), focusing on this theme of order and disorder in international history.

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.

Contemporary International Theory

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the role this tradition plays in the development of contemporary international theory (post-1945) and the establishment of orthodoxy. Major approaches and debates in the discipline will be examined and evaluated, and placed in the more general context of what is problematic about developing cumulative knowledge of social relations. Varieties of realism, liberalism and the English school approach will be considered as well as more recent critical engagements coming from Marxism, feminism, constructivism, postmodernism and globalism.

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.

Introduction to International Political Economy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The intensity and scope of the relationship between politics and economics has become a central element of international relations. This module offers a distinctive perspective in terms of which traditional issues of international relations - such as war, trade, integration and international society - can be studied. It considers the central theoretical traditions of international political economy: liberalism, realism, Marxism, neo-institutionalism, and critical theory. It then applies these diverse theoretical traditions in an analysis of the evolution of the state system from the 16th to the 20th century, paying particular attention to the relationship between class and state power, on the one hand, and the capitalist world economy, on the other.

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.

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.

Development and the State

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module is concerned with the role of the state in development. It considers this subject matter theoretically (that is by exploring debates in state theory, and on the relationship between the state and development), empirically (by investigating a range of historical and contemporary state forms, and the impacts of these state forms on processes of development) and normatively (by posing questions about what the nature and role of the state should ideally be).

The module examines the main theoretical approaches to the state and historical state forms and their attendant development experiences, in the North and in the post-colonial South. Finally, the module moves to Development since the 1980s, exploring the impacts of state failure, neo-liberalism, democratisation and global governance on state forms and patterns of development.

Globalisation and Global Governance

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This course complements Introduction to International Political Economy by applying a holistic, political and economic approach to an analysis of the changing character of the contemporary world. It examines the emergence and subsequent decline of the multilateral system and the rise of globalisation, especially the nature of global institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the G8 meetings. We also cover the rise of a global offshore financial system and delve deeper into the changing nature of state, firm and society in the age of globalisation. The course examines the changing character of the development project, from decolonialisation and the decline of the formal empires to the emergence of the third world and the contemporary debates concerning the nature of development, economic growth, human welfare and the environment.

Assessed by a 3,000-word essay.

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.

Security and Insecurity in Global Politics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Security is central to the issue agenda of international relations. Traditionally security has been understood to comprise the question of the protection of sovereign territory through armed force. Security has thus examined issues such as arms races, war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Traditionally these issues were addressed through a realist lens that regarded the state and its survival as the central conceptual maxims. However, contemporary scholarship concerning security has broadened this agenda considerably. New sources of insecurity have emerged outside the traditional state form, as can be seen in the rise of issues such as terrorism as well as wider 'complex emergencies' on the international security agenda. Moreover, the conceptual lenses for examining these questions of (in)security have also multiplied, giving rise to new referent objects of security and a wider security agenda encompassing issues such as identity, genocide, and the environment. This module introduces you to the broad issue agenda that shapes the contemporary study of (in)security. Each week it will focus on a different issue that defines the agenda of International Security.

Assessed by a 3,000-word essay.

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.

The Politics of Foreign Policy

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Who acts in international relations, and why? All too often, in international relations theory the answer seems to be states, or other collective actors, with their interactions determined by the logic of broad systemic forces. However, this leaves out that actors may have choices and how they arrive at such choices. Foreign policy making is a political process with domestic implications, and concepts such as 'the national interest' are by no means as clear and uncontested as foreign policy elites would like to make out. The module draws on classical and critical literature in foreign policy analysis to explore the broad tension between agency and structure (domestic and international) in international politics. It asks how decision-making in international politics may be less than rational, for a variety of reasons; how lobby groups and (perhaps) public opinion may influence foreign policy; and whether foreign policy still matters in an age of globalisation. The module will conclude with a look at the contemporary foreign policies of selected states.

This module will be assessed by a 3,000-word essay.

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.

Contemporary Issues in the Global Political Economy

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The central theme running through this module is how the architecture of existing capitalism has to be adjusted or brought into balance with the needs of expanding markets. We begin by looking at attempts by global governance institutions like the WTO (World Trade Organisation) to create a largely deregulated world market. We then examine how financial systems are expanding and how the stock market has become a key institution of modern capitalism. We discuss then the changing nature of multinational corporations and the state as they reorient themselves towards a global market. We examine empirically the post-Cold War expansion of capitalism into Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Finally, we analyse the most recent developments in world affairs from a political economy perspective, looking at the increasing military bias of foreign policy of major capitalist states, as well as at the changing nature of anti-capitalist protest in the wake of 9/11.

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.

Gender and (Global) Politics: Subjects Practices and Institutions

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Learn a critical way of analysing (global) politics.

Historically, politics has been thought of as a discrete activity taking place in the public sphere, which was the exclusive domain of men. It was assumed that women were incapable of participating in this sphere and less interested in politics than men. These assumptions that perpetuated the relative exclusion of women from political life. This actual and symbolic marginalisation rests on gendered assumptions about what politics is, where it is located, and who 'does' politics. Our gendered assumptions affect not only the real lives of 'women' and 'men' but conceptions of politics and political subjects as such. 

During the module, you examine how an understanding of gender helps us ask critical questions about the spaces, institutions and practices of politics. It introduces you to prominent theories of gender (biological, psychological, social constructivist etc.). It surveys the theorisation of masculinity, and the historical evolution of feminism as critical theory and practice. From such theoretical bases it then examines:

  • the gendered nature of central political institutions, such ast he state and law
  • political practices such as democratic participation, acts of citizenship, acts of protest and resistance, development
  • the gendering of political subjects such as human rights holders, soldiers, and the expendable subjects of neoliberalism.

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.

Marxism and International Relations

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Mercenaries, Gangs and Terrorists: Private Security in International Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The module looks at the nature of security in international politics from the non-traditional perspective of private actors who are willing to use force to advance the objectives that (for better or worse) they place a high value on. The first section of the module provides a theoretical context that will enable you to develop your ideas about: what 'security' is and how it relates to other values; why sovereign states are often treated as the starting-point for the study of global security; the ways in which the private use of force can be conceptualised as both a problem and a solution to security dilemmas; and the ways in which actors in the global South face security challenges that are often unique from the challenges of those in the North.

In the second section of the module, you will have the opportunity to study particular actors, issues and cases, including private military companies, gangs, political insurgency movements and transnational terrorist groups. you will be challenged to think through the assumption that the private use of force automatically constitutes a threat that needs to be dealt with by sovereign actors, particularly at the international level. By the end of the module, you will demonstrate your theoretical and empirical understanding of the nature and significance of private security in international politics through a case-based research essay.

The assessment for this module is a piece of coursework (weighted 10%) and a long term paper of 6000 words (weighted 90%). The teaching mode is a one-hour lecture and a two-hour seminar each week.

Political Economy of the Environment

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module you: 

  • develop an in-depth knowledge of the key debates in climate change and environmental degradation
  • carry out advanced and independent research on a political economy of the environment topic
  • critically review relevant literature on a specific topic.

Topics include:

  • capitalism and the environment
  • sustainable consumption
  • cultural political economy
  • environmental economics
  • ecological economics
  • private environmental governance
  • climate change denial and case studies on China and India.

Religions in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

During this module you will explore the implications of the 'return' of religions, both for world politics and for thinking about international relations.

Many sociologists and philosophers have interpreted this return as 'the end of modernity' or the 'de-secularisation of the world'. You will primarily focus on the renewed centrality of religious identities as strategic frames of reference for politics in the post-Cold War world.

Against the background of the growing multicultural nature of contemporary international society resulting from what Hedley Bull has aptly termed the 'revolt against the West', the module will encourage you to:

  • consider the implicit and predominant reading of religion in international relations as the ultimate threat to international order and stability (especially in the forms of the identity politics of the 'new wars' and the terrorist attacks of religious fundamentalists)
  • engage critically with Huntington's thesis of the 'clash of civilisations'
  • discuss the implications of this 'return' for the future of foreign policy and the normative structure and world order of contemporary international society.

Sex and Death in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Sex and Death in Global Politics explores the multiple connections between gender and violence in contemporary international politics. Whilst war and other forms of collective violence seem to be everywhere in world affairs, it has often been commented that the many manifestations of gender are less visible, even invisible, in the realms of high politics. Today, some issues of gender (sexual violence in war, the inclusion of homosexuals in the military, 'cultural' forms of misogyny) enter public and policy debate. But many others (such as media representations of gender violence, the continuum between 'peace' and 'war' violence or the connection between armies and prostitution) are neglected by both practitioners and scholars of international relations.

This module will examine a broad range of these issues in theoretical and historical perspective. Topics will include: gender in war and society; imperial gender violence; military masculinity; women at war; wartime sexual violence; sex industries and human trafficking; homosexuality and military culture (including queer theory perspectives and recent debates about 'homonationalism'); feminism, anti-feminism and gender studies in the academy; and gender violence in popular culture.

This module is assessed by a single piece of coursework (10% of the final grade) and an essay of 6,000 words (90% of the final grade). We meet each week for a three-hour seminar combining mini-lectures, group work, analytical exercises and open discussion.

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.

The Political Economy of Latin American Development

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module provides a long-term historical account and analysis of Latin America's formation and integration into the modern world system.  You will investigate patterns of growth and distribution of wealth over different periods of time and between countries.  In particular, the module investigates how these patterns have influenced and have been shaped by three interrelated factors - domestic social structures, state formation and integration to the evolving world system. 

Key issues covered include: the Iberian political economic lethargy; attempts at constructing cohesive state structures and state-led economic development; the influence of rural and urban social movements on the politico-economic structures of different countries; responses to globalisation, including the attempt at creating blocs across the region; and a discussion of the extent to which the current 'pink tide' (or red wave) constitutes a realistic alternative political-economic trajectory for the mass of the continent's population. 

The Politics of International Trade

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module aims to equip you with an understanding of the modern international trading system and the theoretical traditions and political practices that have helped to shape it. The first section examines the core theories around trade and trade liberalisation, particularly those of liberalism, economic nationalism and neo-Marxism, in order to explore different understandings of the relationship between free trade, protectionism, and development.

The second section of the module examines the evolution of a liberal trade regime in the world economy from its collapse in the interwar period to its resurrection and extension in the form of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947 and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995. Core elements of, and controversies within, the global trade system will be scrutinised and situated within this historical context. These will include the recurring threat and changing forms of protectionism, the increasing fragmentation of the trade system engendered by regional trade agreements, the role of emerging powers, and the differential impact of the trade system on developed and developing countries. This survey will establish the empirical and theoretical resources to move in the third section towards an assessment of the deadlocked WTO Doha Round and the ongoing negotiations of a Transatlantic Free-Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

The aim of this section is to understand the main actors and areas of contention and to assess the potential for a more equitable and ethical trading system.

The module is taught through a weekly three-hour seminar that normally consists of a combination of `mini-lectures' and seminar discussions on the week's topics. The assessment for this module is a research exercise (weighted 10%) and a long term paper of 6000 words (weighted 90%).

The Reign of Rights in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Proponents and opponents alike would today concur that human rights are becoming the world's secular religion (Eli Wiesel). This course systematically interrogates the rise of human rights to such prominence. Early on, the module examines the history and evolution of rights within the history of western liberalism and introduces the prominent ways of defining and understanding human rights. It then explores new theorisations of rights as practices of governing and forms of subjectification in global politics. Moreover, the course discusses well-known critiques of the universality of human rights and their Western-centric conception of the human.

Following these initial sessions, the module analyses the challenges that rights present to state sovereignty and examines the violent global politics associated with human rights, such as the emergence of human rights wars (Beck) and the more recent, often racist, trade-off between rights and security within the ensemble of practices we call the 'war on terror'.

Finally, the course reflects on the link between human rights and power: how might we make sense of the apparent tension between human rights as essential to both the sustenance of hegemony and to the politics of resistance? Moreover, it investigates the use of rights in our practices of resistance, analysing how rights delegitimise other paths of action whilst inciting rights-holders as appropriate political subjectivities (Foucault). It discusses the expansion of human rights into emergent areas such as women's rights, indigenous rights, economic rights etc (you will be able to select specific cases for further research and presentation to suit your particular interests) and explores the ways in which human rights talk becomes the hegemonic register in which to articulate and legitimate dissent and social/political action. The module concludes by discussing problems of human rights advocacy by NGOs and poses the philosophical and practical question of who can speak on behalf of sub-altern others (Alcoff).

The assessment for this module is a research plan due in week 7 (weighted 10%) and a long term paper of 6,000 words (weighted 90%). The teaching method is a three-hour seminar, though this includes a 50-minute talk by the convenor each week.

What is War

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

You will gain an advanced understanding of the place of war in the political world. What is war and how, if at all, is it different from other forms of violence? What is the relationship between war and politics? We will ask what war is and then investigate its relation to the fields of ethics, gender, sexuality, and culture. You will then use this knowledge to investigate specific forms of warfare, including genocide as a war of annihilation, insurgency/guerrilla warfare, and counterinsurgency. We conclude by addressing anti-war activism and related forms of civil disobedience as alternatives to war. You are provided with an advanced knowledge and analytical skills that will help you to think, talk, and write in an informed and critical manner about war.

Capitalism and Geopolitics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This multi-disciplinary module is designed to examine the relations between capitalism and geopolitics and how their interaction has shaped different political communities and world orders from the 17th century up to the 21st century. It explores the major theoretical traditions and debates, old and new, on the nexus between capitalism and geopolitics and combines these theoretical perspectives with in-depth interrogations of the historical material the key events, processes, actors that shaped this turbulent international history of war and peace; crises and revolutions; conquest and exploitation.

The terms 'capitalism' and 'geopolitics' have made a remarkable comeback in the public discourse and in academia. Until very recently both terms were regarded as almost obsolete, if not 'beyond history', given the relative absence of major inter-state wars since WWII and the apparent achievements of social market economies in the advanced capitalist countries. The sudden resurrection of both vocabularies in 21st century debates across a wide range of disciplines (IR/IPE, sociology, political geography etc) indicates a return to a harsher social and international climate. This calls for a critical re-examination of their origins and co-development as real historical phenomena and associated discourses, and a closer inspection of these two fundamental dimensions of the world we inhabit.

However, in conventional literature, 'geopolitics' and 'capitalism' tend to be treated as two separate phenomena. 'Geopolitics' is conceived as the sphere of strategic conflicts between states over space and resources, conceptualised primarily at the level of inter-political relations. 'Capitalism' is seen as the sphere of conflicts between social actors over chances of reproduction, sometimes simply seen in the economic literature as the market-mediated allocation of resources, and conceptualised primarily at the level of society. In this module we challenge this persisting dualism and opposition by probing their inter-relation across various historical periods and diverse theoretical registers. This specific research course is at the center of the emerging sub-fields of International Historical Sociology and the Political Economy of Geopolitics.

The first part of the module starts with an overview of the three classical traditions that have most centrally informed this discourse:

  • The writings of Max Weber and Otto Hintze that assert the primacy of military competition for geopolitical orders and that have - since the mid-1980s inspired a Neo-Weberian turn in Historical Sociology and IR
  • The works of Fernand Braudel and Immanuel Wallerstein, updated and extended by neo-Gramscian IR Theory, that stress the rise of commercial exchange and the construction of successive world hegemonies
  • The ideas of Karl Marx that, although short on specific arguments on geopolitics, have more recently led to intense debates within the Neo-Marxist literature on how to conceptualise capitalist social relations and class conflict in their effects on inter-state conflict and co-operation across the centuries.

Against this theoretical setting, the second part of the module examines sequentially a number of different historical geopolitical orders (dynastic-absolutist, 19th century British Hegemony, imperialist, fascist, liberal and contemporary) and the transitions between them on the basis of divergent and contested interpretations deriving from the three classical traditions. The aim is to provide a set of theoretically-informed and empirically-controlled analyses of the ways in which capitalism and geopolitics have shaped each other and constituted varieties of territorial orders in historical perspective.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

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 and Geopolitics in East Asia

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The aim of this module is to understand the rise of East Asia through examining the interconnections between regional development and geopolitical contestation in the Cold War and contemporary eras. The module will adopt a historical approach, beginning with an examination of the legacies of European and Japanese imperialism in East Asia and an analysis of the establishment of post-war US hegemony in the region and its implications for subsequent economic development. The module examines the divergent experiences of Northeast and Southeast Asia and the rise of China. We then examine the implications of the decline of Cold War geopolitical rivalry and the rise of globalisation and its role in explaining subsequent trends such as the East Asian financial crisis, East Asian regionalism and the changing nature of US-China relations. Within this historical context varying analytical frameworks and debates concerning late development will be examined, such as neoclassical versus structural institutionalism, Marxist vs. dependency theories, international/regional vs. domestic factors etc. Such theories are examined critically both in terms of their analytical purchase and their origins and role in geopolitical rivalry itself.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

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.

Dirty Wars? Conflict and Military Intervention

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module analyses what might loosely be called the 'new security environment' and its impacts on international relations. Specifically the course focuses on the role of 'hard power', its uses and limitations in the context of civil war, insurgency, the Global War on Terror and intervention. This will allow students to familiarise themselves with the causes and dynamics of intra-state conflict as well as the efforts that the international community makes to manage and resolve it. Using a number of theoretical lenses to study conflict and intervention the course is concerned with developing policy-relevant analysis of the security threats that have emerged since the Cold War.

You will be encouraged to think critically about the role of 'hard power' in world politics, applying some of your learning from your first and second year studies. However, the main emphasis of this course is to explain and understand conflict and its resolution from an empirical, pragmatic and policy-oriented perspective. In this sense, this module option is a 'nuts and bolts' analysis of new security challenges complementing the reflexive and philosophical approach that you may have seen in other courses. Intensive study will be required as many of the case studies and themes may well be new to you.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

Ethics in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module will cover conceptual and normative questions about ethics in global politics. It introduces you to the academic study of global ethics by exploring its origins within contemporary political philosophy in the Anglo-American tradition, and within the IR sub-field of ‘normative International Relations’. In particular, the module explores the inter-relationship between normative, conceptual and practical questions in international relations.

You will explore the substantive areas of international distributive justice and international human rights, which are thought by many to constitute the core of the subject of global ethics. This is followed by the more cutting-edge areas of agency, responsibility, judgement and authority. Several sessions are devoted to bridging the theoretical concerns of global ethics with particular areas of contemporary practical and policy relevance, including:

  • the responsibility to protect human rights
  • international criminal justice
  • acting on obligations to distant strangers.

By taking this module, you will explore some of the following questions, among others:

  • Are the obligations that we have to those inside our national communities different from obligations to outsiders?
  • Do we all have ‘human rights duties’, or do these fall only on states?
  • Would action to curb global climate change place an unfair burden on developing countries?
  • Should political leaders be indicted by international courts for humanitarian atrocities, even if doing so could prolong civil conflict?
  • What is the best way to understand the relationship between ‘security’ and other values (for example, in the context of contemporary debates about humanitarian intervention, torture, or privacy)?

The assessment is a 7000-word term paper.

Global Resistance: Subjects and Practices

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you explore the 'global movement' of opposition to neoliberalism, capitalism and imperialism.

You learn about the global summit protests of the early 21st Century, the Zapatista movement in Mexico, international trade unionism and the most recent anti-austerity protests in Europe.

You look at:

  • the history of global resistance
  • the main concepts and theories used to make sense of resistance – including Marxist, post-structuralist, decolonial, feminist and anarchist approaches
  • political groups who have been hailed as responsible for revolutionary movements, for example the anti-globalisation movement
  • the politics of resistance
  • campaigns against multinational corporations. 

International Relations of the Modern Middle East

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The Middle East remains at the centre-stage of international politics and media. Yet its specificities and complexities continue to challenge politicians and academics alike. This module explores the explanatory potentials of a three-dimensional international, social and historical approach to modern political history of the Middle East. It consists of three major parts:

  • Firstly, it critically surveys the traditional theoretical approaches to the analysis of Middle East politics
  • Secondly, it delineates the broader historical contours of the contemporary politics of the region by retracing the socio-international context and outcomes of the formation of 'modern' Middle Eastern states
  • Thirdly, and drawing on the second part, it provides in-depth analysis of three major contemporary political developments in the region, namely The Iranian Revolution, the Arab-Israeli conflict and Iraq War.

The module concludes with a brief evaluation of the broader implications of an international-historical approach to the study of the Middle East for theory and practice of international relations.

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'.

Russia and the Former Soviet Union in Global Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module explores the international politics of post-Soviet Russia and the former Soviet space. After a period of relative decline in the 1990s, Russia has more recently been described as 'rising Great Power' and developments in the CIS have returned to the news - from 'gas wars' to the conflict between Russia and Georgia, from the 'democratic revolutions' in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan to the apparent erosion of democracy in Russia and talk of a "new Cold War" between Russia and the West.

These are developments with implications for Western Europe and beyond, touching on traditional and new security issues alike, and shedding light on the implications of Western democracy promotion and the role of norms and identity in contemporary global politics.

The module will investigate the background for and current development of international relations in the region - in particular Russia's status as great power, the 'colour revolutions' in Ukraine and Georgia and the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, NATO and the US in the former Soviet space, the question of Europe's 'energy security' and its relations with Russia, and what has been called the 'new Great Game' between Russia, China and the US in Central Asia. In doing this, it will introduce relevant theoretical concepts related to foreign policy analysis and constructivist explanations of the role of norms and identity in the international politics of Russia and the FSU.

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 Arms Trade in International Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module investigates the social and international relations of the arms trade. You may already be familiar with allegations of corruption, human rights violations and war profiteering associated with the arms trade. You may also have heard justifications in terms of national security, international alliances and jobs.

This module analyses these, and other, claims through a series of historically and theoretically informed empirical case studies. We will ask: what are the main features of global patterns of arms production and transfers? How have these patterns developed historically? What international relations are fostered through arms transfers, and (how) have these changed over time? How is military production embedded in the economic, political and social life of societies and states? What efforts at arms regulation, control and abolition are in play, and how effective are they? Sample case studies include: the production, transfer and use of drones in the 'war on terror'; Chinese arms transfers to African states and new forms of international hierarchy; arms transfers to the Middle East and the supposed 'tension' between human rights and weapons sales; and the institutionalisation of a world military order through the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

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.
 
 

The Global Politics of Health

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The Political Economy of Latin American Development

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module provides a long-term historical account and analysis of Latin America's formation and integration into the modern world system. It investigates patterns of growth and distribution of wealth over different periods of time and between countries.

The module investigates how these patterns have influenced and have been shaped by three interrelated factors: domestic social structures, state formation and integration to the evolving world system. Key issues to be discussed in the module include: the Iberian political economic lethargy; attempts at constructing cohesive state structures and state-led economic development; the influence of rural and urban social movements on the political-conomic-economic structures of different countries; responses to globalisation, including the attempt at creating regional blocs across the region; and a discussion of the extent to which the current 'pink tide' (or red wave?) constitutes a realistic alternative political-economic trajectory for the mass of the continents population.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

The Politics of Terror

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module offers an advanced-level introduction to terrorism and political violence in modern societies. Through attention to case studies, academic literatures and a variety of media and other primary sources the module focuses on:

  • The conceptual and analytical challenges of defining and understanding terrorism and political violence
  • Terror as a political instrument
  • The relationship between state and non-state terror
  • The historical development of terrorism and counter-terrorism
  • The organisational, ideological and strategic dynamics of terrorist organisations
  • The policy dilemmas faced and principle methodologies employed by democratic and other states in countering terrorism
  • The role of media, mass communication and 'public discourse' in political violence

The curriculum is roughly divided into two sections. The first, 'Studying Terrorism: Historical and Conceptual Issues', offers a thematic exploration of terrorism considering its historical development in modern societies; relation to other forms of organised violence; some of the animating ideas historically associated with the use of terror for political purposes; the phenomenon of 'suicide terrorism' and the ideas, organisations and practices used by states in their efforts to counter terrorism. The second section, 'Cases and Contexts', situates terrorism and political violence within the changing context of state power, international and global politics, exploring the historical and contemporary relations between them. The course concludes by looking at how terror campaigns end.

The assessment for this module is a long term paper of 7000 words. The teaching method is a three-hour seminar each week.

The United States in the World

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

As the 21st century begins, the United States is still the world's only superpower: no other nation possesses comparable military and economic power or has interests that reach the entire globe. To understand the place and power of the US in the contemporary world, it is vital to understand how its geopolitical strategies function, militarily and economically. Yet because US power is also secured through cultural and discursive strategies, it is equally important to analyse how US cultural/discursive products and processes participate in the construction of the US in all the varied ways it imagines itself. The aim of this module is to analyse how US cultural/discursive strategies participate in imagining the US in the world, either by being embedded within traditional geopolitical strategies or by sitting alongside them. Rather than taking an historical approach, the module is organised around specific theoretical and cultural/discursive themes and practices.

These include:

  • architectural theory and the building of embassies abroad
  • design theory and designing the nation through everyday objects
  • film theory and screening the nation through popular film
  • remediation theory and virtually remediating the nation
  • entertainmentality theory and exhibiting the nation in museums
  • performance/performativity theory and re-enacting the nation though historical re-enactments as well as song
  • advertising theory and advertising the nation to US citizens.

Along the way, significant foreign and domestic policy debates from Cold War politics to the 'War on Terror' to the US domestic 'War on Illegal Immigration' will be considered through political, cultural and discursive theories (eg Said's notion of orientalism, Foucault's notion of governmentality, Butler's notion of performativity and Ranciere's notion of the birth of the nation). 

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