The University of Southampton
Courses

SOCI6035 Understanding Modernity

Module Overview

The module 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.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to demonstrate: • a good understanding of the significance of modernity for the emergence of sociology as a discipline, and some of the key ways in which sociologists have gone about studying and conceptualising modern societies • a good understanding of the ways in which different perspectives complement or conflict with one another and of the ways in which more recent approaches have built on, rejected or attempted to tread a line between, previous approaches within the discipline • be able to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of the various approaches considered, and their implications for the ways in which we go about studying the social world • be able to identify and interrogate core themes within sociological analysis – such as the distinction between structure and agency – and to critically examine the different ways in which such issues have been addressed and/or ‘resolved’.

Syllabus

1. Background: the emergence of Modern Societies and the aims of Sociology 2. Making sense of Modernity (1): Marx, Durkheim and the Modern World 3. Making sense of Modernity (2): Weber, Simmel on the Modern World 4. Classical legacies (1): consensus vs conflict 5. Classical legacies (2): micro and macro sociologies 6. Key themes (1): the individual and society 7. Challenging the canon (1): feminist sociologies 8. Challenging the canon (2): Postcolonial perspectives 9. Post-modernism and beyond? 10 Key themes (2): structure and agency in recent social theory and module summary

Special Features

Students are co-authors of the curriculum for the course, being required to locate contemporary examples of the application of classical social theory for a formative assessment over seminars 2 and 3.

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

TypeHours
Seminar20
Total study time20

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

• One essay of 2000 words worth 40% of the total mark • One essay of 3000 words worth 60% of the total mark

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 60%
Essay  ( words) 40%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (5000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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