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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Sociology

Undergraduate Course: Sociology 2a: Thinking Sociologically (SCIL08012)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe aim of Sociology 2a is twofold: firstly, to introduce students to some of the core theoretical debates that frame sociological investigation; and, secondly, to develop students knowledge of key substantive areas within sociology in a theoretically-informed way. It is important for students to gain an understanding of theoretical debates because much sociological research and thinking is contextualized in a theoretical way.

The course is a progression from year 1, where sociological topics and concepts are introduced without priority being given to theoretical issues. It complements the new Sociology 2b which focuses more on issues of method in sociological research. It will also provide appropriate preparation for Honours level sociology, where theoretical questions are looked at in a more advanced way in the Social Theory course.

Course description The course will introduce students to core theoretical debates in Sociology and illustrate these by reference to case studies. Typically the course will begin by introducing students to key debates in social theory. This unit will consider the significance of issues of agency, social stratification and social change in contemporary social life. The second Unit will offer a detailed discussion of inequality in social life. It will question how privileges are reproduced and reinforced and highlight the intersectional nature of social inequality. The third unit will ask why structures of inequality persist and how they can be changed by focussing on social movements in a global context. It will conclude by discussing theories of power. Finally, the last unit will look at some of the classic theorists of society especially Marx and Weber and their analyses of capitalism. The unit will draw on contemporary cases to illustrate the contemporary relevance and insights of these thinkers.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Sociology 1A: The Sociological Imagination: Individuals and Society (SCIL08004) OR Sociology 1B: The Sociological Imagination: Private Troubles, Public Problems (SCIL08005)
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:  200
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 10%: Tutorial participation. Students will be expected to attend and debate sociological ideas with others in tutorials.
40%: 1400-1600 word essay. This essay relates to the first two units of the course dealing with key theoretical dilemmas and questions of inequality. Feedback for this essay will also be formative for the final assessment.
50%: Take Home Essays. Students will be asked to write TWO 1,000-1,500 word essays relating to the final two units of the course.

Students are required to pass the final assignment to pass the course and to achieve a course grade of 50% in order to automatically progress to Honours in Sociology.
Feedback Students will receive two key pieces of feedback prior to writing their Take Home Essays; namely an assessment of the short essay they submit around Week 5 and comments on their tutorial participation (students will also get an interim note of their performance mid-way through the course).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will be able to understand and participate in key debates in sociology about core theoretical questions
  2. Students will be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches
  3. Students will have learned how empirical research in sociology is informed and shaped by theoretical questions
  4. Students will be able to reflect on the significance of whether sociological knowledge is framed in a local, national or global way
  5. Students will have an understanding of the interplay between social structures and social inequalities
Reading List
¿Layder, Derek (2006) Understanding Social Theory, second edition, Sage
¿Calhoun, C., Gerteis, J., Moody, J., Pfaff, S., & Indermohan, V. (eds) (2002) Contemporary Sociological Theory. Oxford: Blackwell
¿Neckerman, K. M. Torche, F. (2007). Inequality: Causes And Consequences. Annual Review of Sociology, 33, 335-357.
¿Crompton, R. (2006). Class and the family. The Sociological Review, 54, 658-677.
¿Bauman, Zygmunt (2011) Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age, Polity
¿Chesters, G. and Welsh, I. (2010) Social Movements: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge.
¿Snow, D; Soule, S & Kriesi, H. (eds) (2004). Blackwell Companion to Social Movements: Oxford: Blackwell
¿Löwith, K. (1993) Max Weber and Karl Marx, London: Routledge.
¿Giddens, A. (1971). Capitalism and modern social theory: An analysis of the writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber. Cambridge University Press.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Hugo Gorringe
Tel: (0131 6)50 3940
Course secretaryMiss Laura Thiessen
Tel: (0131 6)50 3932
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