Theorizing Society and Politics 2023-24
School Of History, Law And Social Sciences
Module - Semester 1
This module explores the origins, nature and significance of social and political theories and concepts developed in the 20th century. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of such approaches as Critical Theory (such as Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse), post-structuralism (such as Foucault, Bauman, Lyotard), and feminist 'standpoint' and 'intersectionality' theory (Yuval-Davis, Hill Collins). It considers a range of theories which seek to address knowledge, power and subordination in terms of gender divisions and differences of class, race and/or sexuality. The module seeks to ask questions about the relationship between social and political theory, social action, movements, modernity, capitalism, social change, research and everyday life. The module aims to encourage students to reflect on their own position as participants in social and political interaction.
-threshold -(50%> -C) To pass the module students must have achieved the expected outcomes at a basic level. They will be able to identify the main contributors to contemporary sociological theory and offer a basic description of their theories in context. They will show an adequate awareness of recent trends and the main similarities and contrasts between them. They will show some understanding of how theories may be applied to selected contemporary social issues.
-good (60%> -B) Good students will be able to identify the main contributors to contemporary sociological theory, summarise their theories and explain their origins. They will show a good awareness of recent trends and the main similarities and contrasts between them. They will show a good understanding and reflexive awareness of how theories may be applied to contemporary social issues.
-excellent (70%> -A) Excellent students will be able to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and a developed understanding of contemporary sociological theory, its social context and relationship to other social theories. They will display mature reflexive awareness and critical judgement in the application of recent theories to a range of contemporary issues.
- Compare and evaluate different arguments, engage in both sympathetic interpretation and reasoned criticism, assess the limitations of their own position or procedure, see connections and possibilities and present these clearly and persuasively.
- Compare and evaluate selected social and political theories demonstrating awareness of the influence these theories have on our contemporary understanding of society and politics.
- Develop and formulate critical and original arguments based on assessments of the viability of competing theories for addressing social and political problems.
- Provide a critical account of key ideas and arguments in contemporary social and political thought taking into account how social and historical contexts have shaped these theories.
essay plan, with annotated initial bibliography
Presentation supported by a handout or PP slides, on one of the module's core readings. Presentations take place throughout the term, after week three, every week, and can be given in class or pre-recorded and uploaded on blackboard.