The University of Southampton

SOCI6035 Understanding Modernity

Module Overview

The module then adopts a broadly chronological approach, focusing on key theorists or schools of thought, and emphasising the ways in which more recent approaches have built on, rejected or attempted to tread a line between, previous approaches within the discipline. It also addresses the methodological implications of different theoretical perspectives (and their association with different methodological traditions and types of methodological approach), and highlights the significance of key themes within sociological analysis – such as the relationship between the individual and society, and the distinction between structure and agency – and the different ways in which such core problems have been dealt with or ‘resolved’.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To introduce and interrogate some of the key perspectives within sociological analysis, to consider the ways in which they complement or conflict with one another, and to examine the different ways in which they have attempted to explore a variety of related concerns. Foremost amongst these are sociologists' attempts to explain, understand, and address the implications of modern society, and it is in this sense that the module itself and the emergence of the discipline are contextualised.


1. Introduction: the nature of sociology 2. Background: the emergence of Modern Societies 3. Making sense of Modernity (1): Marx, Durkheim and the Modern World 4. Making sense of Modernity (2): Weber, Simmel on the Modern World 5. Classical legacies (1): consensus vs conflict 6. Classical legacies (2): micro and macro sociologies 7. Key themes (1): the individual and society 8. Challenging the canon (1): feminist sociologies 9. Challenging the canon (2): Postcolonial perspectives 10. Key themes (2): structure and agency 11. Post-modernism and beyond? 12. Conclusion

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module will be taught by means of a weekly two-hour seminar based around student presentations, complemented by private study, and the preparation of assessed work. For some seminars students are asked to identify articles illustrating the contemporary significance of major social theorists and to share these with the group



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 60%
Essay  ( words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%
Essay  ( words) %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.