Belief in a universal human nature is out of fashion. Instead human beings are seen as profoundly shaped by their social, cultural, historical and linguistic context. But the latter vision poses problems of its own: it may seem to lead to a relativism that is repugnant and perhaps even incoherent, and to render individual human beings what Harold Garfinkel called ‘cultural dopes’. This module will explore these tensions and the various ways in which they manifest themselves—for example, as tensions between self and society, nature and nurture, and our behaviour and the norms—moral, political, aesthetic, epistemic, etc.—that we demand they meet. The module will explore various forms that these tensions take across the social sciences and humanities, and the prospects for their resolution.