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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 explores the social theory being produced contemporaneously. It examines the relationship between work produced as part of a theory project, and work published in leading theory journals. It also considers the tension between ┐blue skies┐ ideas and ┐reality-congruent┐ concepts and theories and how best to use theory in research (both substantive and theoretical).
Course description What is going on in contemporary social theory now? This course will explore social and sociological theory being produced contemporaneously in two key contexts. The first context involves the key writings produced as part of a theory project by such theorists as Achille Mbembe, Ashis Nandy, Andre Betaille, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Dorothy Smith, Immanuel Wallerstein, John Urry, Mamood Mamdani, Margaret Archer, Patricia Hill Collins, Saskia Sassen, Theda Skocpol. The second context is work being published in leading theory journals and will review their contents over the recent period. The course will also consider how theory can best be used to inform different kinds of research practice.
Contemporary Social Theory is aimed at students who are interested in exploring the production of new ideas and ┐hotspots┐ in theoretical work being published now, in gaining an informed understanding of new developments in contemporary theory, in developing skills for making critical assessment of current theoretical work, in embarking on research projects that will use contemporary theory in an informed way, and who want to support their work with a clearer understanding of relevant contemporary ideas and debates.
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
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One essay between 3,000 and 4,000 words based on topics and readings from the course
Feedback Assessment topics will combine considering an extract from a theory monograph and theoretical work appearing in journals. The aim is to assess the ability of students to explore key theoretical work and critically evaluate the different contexts in which such work is produced. The course is assessed by one essay, while students are advised to submit an essay plan so that they can be provided with formative feedback.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical knowledge of key concerns in contemporary social and sociological theory
  2. Make informed assessments of the different ways that contemporary theoretical ideas are produced and debated
  3. Work both independently and cooperatively in groups in analysing the different contexts in which contemporary theory is published
  4. Use concepts and arguments introduced in the course to investigate and analyse other major theoretical topics
  5. Critically evaluate what kind of theory is best fit for purpose in particular research contexts
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 organiserProf Lizbeth Stanley
Tel: (0131 6)51 3139
Course secretaryMr Jack Smith
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485
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