Skip to main content

Social Theory


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6

Module description

This module introduces critical approaches in sociology, including feminist and postcolonial perspectives. It will explore how sociology and social theory can enable us to think about and understand inequality and difference as central aspects of the organisation of social and psychic life. We will explore the processes by which inequality and difference are produced and reproduced, and we will focus on the many and varied challenges that are enacted by individuals and groups that seek to transform relations of power and inequality.

The module takes a socio-historical and spatial approach to the study of inequality and difference, tracing changes over time and paying attention to the importance of space, place and nation. Students will be introduced to the work of major classical and contemporary social theorists and sociologists, including: Simmel, Durkheim, Elias, Marx, Weber, Foucault, Rose, Giddens, Beck, Melucci, Esping Anderson, Fraser, Jackson, Gibson-Graham, Castells, Gilroy, Sedgwick, Plummer and Weeks.

Indicative module content

  • The emergence and transformation of modernity
  • The development of capitalism and the intensification of economic inequality
  • The consolidation of state power: bureaucracy, surveillance and governmentality
  • Social movements and collective agency
  • Citizenship, welfare states and the amelioration of inequality
  • Globalisation, postcolonialism and the contemporary multicultural
  • The remaking of gender relations
  • The transformation of family, intimacy and personal life
  • Sexual identities and sexual practices in flux