Philosophy and Sociology BA

Sociology

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
VL53
Start date:
September 2018

By combining Philosophy and Sociology, you gain the skills to critically analyse today’s society – and to tackle its biggest issues.

Philosophy encourages you to consider universal questions about human behaviour. In Sociology, you look at how they’re dealt with now – in our legal, political and cultural systems.

Your studies of both subjects take a progressive approach. You’re taught by expert researchers who influence ground-breaking debate. And you join a community that is philosophically and politically engaged.

Studying Philosophy at Sussex has been a great experience. I love debating with other students in seminars.”Lauren Trott
Philosophy BA 

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

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

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

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

Subjects

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

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

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

Typical offer

DDD

GCSEs

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

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

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

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Austria

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Belgium

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Bulgaria

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

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

China

Typical offer

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

If you are interested in applying for a course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, such as a Business related course, 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 6.0

France

Typical offer

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

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

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

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

Please note

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

Hong Kong

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

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

India

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

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

Ireland

Typical offer

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

Israel

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Italy

Typical offer

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

Japan

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Latvia

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Lithuania

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

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

Malaysia

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Netherlands

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

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

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

Please note

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

Norway

Typical offer

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

Pakistan

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Poland

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Portugal

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Romania

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Singapore

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Slovakia

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

Slovenia

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

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

Spain

Typical offer

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

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

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

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

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

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

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

Turkey

Typical offer

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

Please note

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

USA

Typical offer

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

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

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

Please note

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

My country is not listed

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

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

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

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

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

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

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

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

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

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

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

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

Pearson (PTE Academic)

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

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

TOEFL (iBT)

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

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

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

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

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

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

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

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

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

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

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

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

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

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

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

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

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

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

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

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

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

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

West African Senior School Certificate

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

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

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

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

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

List of exempt countries

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

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

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

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

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

Why choose this course?

  • 94% for teaching satisfaction (National Student Survey 2016).
  • Ranked in the top 15 in the UK for Philosophy (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
  • Sociology at Sussex was ranked 2nd for employment prospects in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2017).

Course information

How will I study?

You are taught how to read philosophy, which is a skill in itself. You explore key thinkers and ideas in the history of philosophical thought, from both the analytic and continental traditions. You also learn how to form your own independent responses to them.

You are introduced to key themes and perspectives in sociology. You are also introduced to sociological work examining diverse aspects of 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 2016. 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

How will I study?

You extend your knowledge of the history of philosophy. At the same time, you develop your debating skills in relation to what you study. You study the German Enlightenment philosopher, Immanuel Kant, who is pivotal to both analytic and continental philosophical traditions.

You learn to frame sociological questions and apply appropriate social research methods to find answers. Options give you a chance to explore arguments and evidence in relation to different aspects of life, including topics such as:

  • deviance
  • childhood
  • everyday life.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2016. 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.

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.

How will I study?

You study central areas of philosophy in depth, with a view to historical scholarship and critical, independent thought. You can also choose from a range of topics including philosophy of language, ethics, Islamic philosophy and modern European philosophy.

You specialise, gaining an understanding of social change in relation to topics such as:

  • alternative societies
  • contemporary sociological theory
  • development, human rights and security.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2016. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Options

 

I often start by thinking about a small question. I try to get really precise about it. And then I build from there with the aim of arriving at a general view.”Dr Corine Besson
Lecturer in Philosophy
University of Sussex

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 the academic year 2018, you'll remain eligible for financial support. This applies even if your course ends after the UK’s exit from the EU. Find out more on the UK Government website.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Details of our scholarships are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018.

Careers

Graduate destinations

97% of Department of Philosophy students were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent Department of Philosophy and Department of Sociology graduates have started jobs as:

  • researcher, Bloomberg L.P.
  • project manager, Wellmind Media
  • intern, Ditch the Label.

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

Your future career

By taking a Philosophy and Sociology degree at Sussex, you develop key skills in communication, research, critical thinking and analytical skills.

This means you are prepared for a range of jobs including careers in the Civil Service, government, health and social welfare or public and human relations.

Outside the classroom, you can join our Philosophy Society where you:

  • get involved in philosophical debates
  • attend talks by visiting speakers
  • network with other philosophy students.

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.

Early Modern Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

You are introduced to assumptions, arguments and ideas from major philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries that ground the empiricist and rationalist traditions. These philosophers include Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, Spinoza.

You examine these assumptions, arguments and ideas in the context of contemporary discussions of the issues, in order to promote understanding both of the concerns which lie at the heart of much contemporary philosophy and of the history of those concerns.

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.

Paradox and Argument

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

The aim of this module is to help you to become reflective about the way arguments work by looking at a number of paradoxes.  

Paradoxes puzzle and perplex us. If you're going to sort them out, you have to clearly lay out the arguments and assumptions that lie behind the puzzlement and perplexity. And doing that helps you to see how to analyse arguments more generally.

You'll see that most paradoxes have several solutions. Understanding the reasons in favour of different solutions will help you to see how arguments work, and how assumptions are often in play – ones that you may not have thought about before.

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.

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.

Existentialism

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

The module critically engages with thinkers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sarte, de Beauvoir, Camus, Arendt and Murdoch.

You examine themes such as human freedom, the relation between faith and reason and the absurd. You trace the development of existential ideas in philosophical, religious, poetic and fictional works, asking why this movement in particular seems to have led to such a rich intermingling of philosophy and literature.

You conclude your studies by considering some of the political and ethical consequences of existentialism.

Logic and Meaning

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

In this module you will be introduced to the basic ideas and methods of (modern) elementary formal logic. The emphasis will be on using logic as a tool to evaluate arguments. You will be introduced to logical concepts such as truth-functionality, logical form, subject/predicate, validity, and derivability. We will also consider related issues concerning meaning, such as the meaning of ordinary-language conditionals; the distinction between literal meaning and conversational implicatures, and the distinction between referring expressions and quantifiers.

Reading Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

The aim of this module is to spend time reading a small number of philosophical texts very closely. Different tutors may choose different texts.

You are taught to develop the kind of attentiveness to detail which is important philosophically.

Science and Reason

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Science has a special status in our understanding of the world. Several of the earlier philosophers of the modern era were active and innovative scientists in their own right, and the model of scientific understanding has shaped the way philosophy has been done right up to the present day.

Some have tried to develop a specifically scientific kind of philosophy; others have tried to separate the task of philosophy from that of science.

In this module, you pursue questions about the relation between science and philosophy, looking in detail at particular texts (which may be drawn from any period) for which these issues are important.

Society, State and Humanity

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you look at the fundamental answers given by Western thinkers to the question 'what is society', exploring them in conjunction with answers to the questions 'what is the state?' and 'what is a human being?'.

There is a particular focus on the question of whether humans can be said to exist prior to society or only as constituted by it.

Conceptions of society, state and humanity studied may include those of Plato, Aristotle, St. Paul, Hobbes, Smith, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Durkheim, Freud, and feminist and postmodern critiques of these.

Please note: this module has some overlap in content with the second year module 'Modern Political Thought,' which is a core module for students studying joint honours Politics and Philosophy.

Truth and Morality: The Meaning of Life

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you study the central issues of morality – examining both the kinds of considerations that might be appealed to in moral arguments, and the status of moral arguments themselves.

What should we bear in mind when deciding whether to eat meat, or whether to help someone, or whether to fight a war?

In what sense are the decisions we make right? How can a moral argument be a good argument? Are some people wiser than others? Is there any truth in moral relativism? You will tackle these and related issues from a range of theoretical positions.

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.

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.

Kant

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

You are introduced to some of the central issues in Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy.

Topics covered include:

  • Kant's doctrine of the subjective nature of space and time; causation
  • the self and selfidentity; freedom and moral agency
  • duty and the moral law
  • the question as to the meaning and coherence of Kant's 'idealism.'

Aesthetics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Aesthetics is concerned with two sorts of philosophical questions: questions about aesthetic experience and judgment, and questions about art.

They are connected, insofar as art is thought to be one of the primary sources of aesthetic experience.

However, not every question in aesthetics is about art; and not all questions about art are about aesthetic experience.

In this module you tackle questions raised by aesthetics in this wide sense, and will approach them from an "analytic" perspective.

Ancient Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module we will look at some central themes in the works of Plato, concentrating especially on ethics and metaphysics. We will examine the attempts to define virtues in some supposedly early dialogues, and the central Socratic ethical claim that it is impossible to do wrong knowingly. These issues will be pursued into the central moral argument of the Republic. We will also look at the so-called 'theory of forms' as it appears in various dialogues, including (especially) the Republic and the criticisms of it which are made in the Parmenides. We will consider Plato's philosophy of art in connection with the theory of forms.

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.

Epistemology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Epistemology is a central philosophical area and pertains to issues concerned with knowledge and how we acquire it.

In this module, you concentrate on current issues in contemporary epistemology, though your studies are also informed by certain important historical debates and figures.

You address questions that may include:

  • what is knowledge?
  • is certain knowledge a genuine possibility?
  • what makes a belief justified?
  • is there such a thing as epistemic virtue?
  • what are the special problems surrounding inductive knowledge?
  • does one have special privileged access to knowledge about one's own mind?
  • how might perception best be characterised?

Feminist Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

Feminist philosophy covers a range of issues.

At the applied end, it is concerned with issues of particular political relevance to women, such as discrimination and equality, and ethical issues surrounding reproduction.

At the more abstract end, it is concerned with whether Western philosophical approaches and conclusions are themselves a product of patriarchy. 

In this module, you explore such themes.

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.

Phenomenology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Over 50 years ago, Merleau-Ponty began his great work The Phenomenology of Perception with the words: "what is phenomenology?" It may seem strange that this question has still to be asked half a century after the first works of Husserl appeared. The aim of this module is to continue to ask that question about the nature of what has become one of the most important philosophical movements in the last hundred years, and it does so by examining some of the key texts of the philosophers most influenced by, and most critical of, the founder of that movement, Edmund Husserl (1859-1938). These philosophers include Heidegger (1889-1976), Sartre (1905-1980), Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), Levinas (1906-1995), and Derrida (1930-2004), and they cannot be properly understood unless their relationship to Husserl's philosophy is examined.

Overall, phenomenology attempts to focus on "how" things appear to us rather than simply asking "what" these things are. Themes to be discussed include the nature of perception, the role of the sciences, the impact of emotions, the body and intersubjectivity.

A reader with photocopies of the most important texts for this module can be purchased in the first session.

Philosophy of Mind

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module will examine the nature of the mind, employing the procedures of analytic philosophy. We will be concerned with the nature of thought and of mental representation, addressing such questions as the following. How are mental properties and physical properties related? Are beliefs and desires the causes of actions? Could we have thoughts even if there were no world? What grounds the authority we appear to have over claims about the contents of our own minds? How are we to understand the nature of consciousness ?

Philosophy of Religion

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module aims to encourage you to engage with different perspectives on the philosophy of religion, drawing on analytic and continental sources.

You start with a methodological discussion and an examination of different approaches to the question of how philosophy can contribute to religious knowledge and understanding.

You cover topics including the existence of God, providence and free will, and the morality of afterlife.

One question that arises out of this discussion concerns the appropriateness of treating 'God' as a peculiar kind of object. You consider this question in relation to phenomenological and existentialist approaches that focus on religious experience and also approaches that focus on the meaning of religious terms and the nature of belief.

You conclude by considering current debates about religion and science and the role of religion in everyday life.

 

Philosophy of Science

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The philosophy of science explores, among other things: the nature of laws and scientific explanation; the distinctive character of science and of how science progresses; realism/anti-realism about the theoretical entities posited by scientific theories. This module will introduce you to these issues and the central arguments involved. You will also explore notions integral to science, such as time, natural kinds, counterfactual support and causation.

Power, Deviance and Othering

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

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

Race: Conflict and Change

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

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

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

Resistance Movements in Conflict & War

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

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

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

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

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

Sociology of 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 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.

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.

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 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).

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.

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.

Ethics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

You look at the central questions in normative ethics and meta-ethics.

These include:

  • what makes an action right
  • whether there are moral rules
  • whether there are moral facts, and if so, how they can be known
  • whether there are external moral reasons; and of the relation between moral truths and non-moral truths.

Positions to be examined include non-cognitivism, naturalism, non-naturalism, internalism and externalism.

Figures in Analytic Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module will look in detail at the position and arguments of one or more major figures in analytic philosophy, such as Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Kripke or Lewis.

Figures in Post-Kantian Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module you will look in detail at the position and arguments of a major figure in post-Kantian philosophy, such as Hegel or Heidegger.

Figures in Social and Political Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module you will look in detail at the position and arguments of a major figure in social political philosophy, such as Rawls, Marx or Habermas.

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.

Islamic Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module aims to introduce you to the main themes, movements and thinkers of the Islamic Philosophical Tradition. There is an emphasis on trying to make it conversant with some themes from modern Western philosophy.

Topics to be addressed will include:

  • Islamic Metaphysics
  • the notion of Islamic Science
  • Ibn Sina's epistemology
  • Sufism and mysticism
  • Ibn Rushd's philosophy of language
  • the philosophy of Al-Kindi
  • Al-Ghazali on ethics.

Language, Truth and Literature

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Drawing on resources from analytical philosophy, continental philosophy and literary theory as well as engaging with particular fictional and poetic works, this module offers a critical investigation into some of the most important issues in the philosophical treatment of literature, narrative and fiction. You consider topics such as: metaphor and metaphorical meaning; the relation between fiction and truth; the logical status of fiction; and intentionality and interpretation. You explore questions such as: what does it tell us about language that something like literature is possible? Is there a type of understanding proper to the understanding of a poem? Why is philosophy troubled by fiction and fictionality?

Metaphysics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Metaphysics is the study of the fundamental nature of reality.

In this module, you focus in particular on questions to do with realism and anti-realism.
(Realism here is understood to be the view that the nature of the world as it is in itself is altogether independent of anything to do with thought about it or representation of it - anti-realism is some form of reluctance to embrace realism.)

You trace the issue as it arises within empiricism, moving on to a modern approach to these concerns that arises out of ways of addressing the relation between language and the world.

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'.

Modern European Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Inthis module, you investigate the work of some of the key European philosophers of the past two hundred years.

You study: Hegel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger, Levinas, Lukacs. Adorno, Arendt, Foucault, Derrida and Habermas.

You examine some of the most signifcant work done in two or more of the following traditions:

  • phenomenology
  • hermeneutics
  • deconstruction
  • critical theory
  • dismodule ethics
  • feminism.

Because of the wealth of thinkers and ideas in the area, the module can vary substantially from year to year; in each year, there will be one or more unifying themes, such as critique, art, truth, faith, law, or ethics.

Philosophy of Language

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you focus on the nature of language in general and the meaning of particular kinds of expression.

You look at influential works of the analytic tradition by Frege, Russell, Quine, Grice, Kripke, Putnam and Davidson.

You consider the meaning of words, for example:  

  • whether we should distinguish between sense or cognitive significance and reference
  • how we manage to refer to things
  • how to make sense of claims about necessity and about what people think
  • how names and natural­kind terms work
  • how we might respond to scepticism about meaning.

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 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.

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.

Surveillance, Security and Control

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

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

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

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

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

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

The Body: current controversies and debates

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

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

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

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.

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