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SOCI1014 Foundations in Social and Anthropological Theory

Module Overview

The module will introduce a range of social theories, within the context of the social and anthropological issues which they have sought to explore and explain. Pre-requisite for SOCI2031

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To introduce students to 9 key social theorists or groups of theorists, the historical context in which they were writing and a selection of their key ideas, questions and concepts. To develop students critical appreciation of social theories and their contemporary relevance and application. To develop students’ academic skills in reading, writing about and discussing social theory that will support their undergraduate studies

Learning Outcomes


The module introduces you to key thinkers and their contributions to social and anthropological theory. Different theories are introduced in their historical context highlighting the particular issues their proponents initially sought to grapple with and explain at the time they were writing. The module follows the chronological development of social theory over the course of the hundred and 50 years. It begins with the classical theories of Marx, Weber and Durkheim in the late 19th and early 20th century and traces a course through Parsons and Goffman in the mid-20th century to modern social theory in the form of Contemporary Feminist theory, Foucault, Post-colonial theory and work of Anthony Giddens. In the process we consider the broad conceptual questions these theories address; questions of power, socialisation, knowledge, Identity and the relationship between structure and agency. We highlight the relevance of theory to the world we inhabit today. The ideas you will get to hear about on this module form the foundations of many of the topics you will study over the course of your degree. Finally, as a core first year module for a number of programmes in SSPC we aim to provide you with a range of skills that you will make use of in your time at university and beyond. On this module that means reading and understanding social theory in books and articles, being able to discuss and talk about theoretical ideas and being able to write about social theory in a clear and critical way. These objectives define the module aims and learning outcomes.

Special Features

This module emphasises the importance of the close reading of texts and employs an innovative method of a ‘reading comprehension test’ designed to encourage this sort of close reading and test what you get out of preparing and reading for seminars and for the module generally.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module is based around 12 lectures and 9 seminars for each seminar group.

Independent Study125
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

The module is assessed by a mid-term reading comprehension test (30%) and a 2000 word essay (70%).


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 70%
Mid-term reading  (40 minutes) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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