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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Contemporary Social Theory (PGSP11276)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses in on selected key contemporary debates in social theory. It explores alternative perspectives within these debates in a way that is relevant to both empirical researchers and students who are interested in specializing in social theory.
Course description This course is aimed both at students looking to support their empirical work with a clear understanding of relevant theoretical debates and those with a specialist interest in social theory. The course explores recent attempts at theorising the social world, introducing students to contemporary social theory through an examination of topics central to social inquiry. It is made up of a number of units, each of which looks at a key theoretical debate or dispute. The unit topics are chosen because they relate to dilemmas relevant to a wide range of social scientific inquiries.

Units vary from year to year but may include
- Theories of power and interests
- Theories of materiality, e.g. actor-network theory
- Theories of structure and agency e.g. critical realism and Bourdieu
- Theories of gender and performativity
- Theories of embodiment
- Theoretical debates between realism and constructionism

The course is taught through a combination of lecturer presentations and seminar discussions. The presentations provide a background to, and exposition of, key debates and help support the students with the set reading. The seminar discussions provide a chance for students to explore their understanding of these ideas and also relate critically to them.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop knowledge of conceptual and theoretical debates current in the social sciences
  2. Critically explore the limitations of existing theoretical positions
  3. Think critically about the application of theoretical ideas to social scientific research
  4. Debate issues using concepts discussed in the course
  5. Write accurately and critically about contemporary theoretical debates
Reading List
Lukes, S. (2005), Power: A Radical View, Second edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Butler, J. (2004), Undoing Gender, London: Routledge
Archer, M. (2003) Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation, Cambridge: Cambridge UP
S. Williams and G. Bendelow (1998) The Lived Body London: Routledge
C. Shilling (2012) The Body and Social Theory London: Sage
B. S. Turner (2008) The Body and Society: Explorations in Social Theory London: Sage
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Stephen Kemp
Tel: (0131 6)50 3978
Course secretaryMs Nicole Develing-Bogdan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5067
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