Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Social and Political Science

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Sociology (LLLJ07022)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummarySociology looks behind surface appearances to help us understand ourselves and the societies we live in, how we both create and are shaped by society. This course will look at key social influences on our identity and question taken-for-granted explanations of inequality, the family, crime, and educational achievement.
Course description This course introduces students to elementary aspects of sociology. It aims to provide an overview of fundamental theories and topics within the history of sociology, as well as contemporary questions and approaches. Adopting a sociological perspective, the course will look at issues such as social and personal identity, inequality, the family, crime, and education. In each of these areas, students will examine key social influences on human behaviour. Additionally, the course will present simple questions around methodology, encouraging students to develop their own sociological questions by the end of the term.

The following topics will be discussed:

The Sociological Perspective
Is human behaviour natural or cultural? The influence of society and culture in shaping human behaviour and what is 'natural'.

Sociological Theory
Are humans created or creators? How free are we? Contrasting theories; how society works; the relation between the individual and society; are we puppets or free agents?

Culture and Identity
The impact of culture (and subcultures) on social and personal identity: social class; power; gender/sexuality; ethnicity; nationality and globalisation; disability; age; leisure; consumerism.

The Family
What is the 'family'? What is its 'core'? Who belongs to it? What does it do? How has it changed? The diversity of family types and roles.

Different forms of inequality, different explanations of why inequality exists, the concept of 'meritocracy'.

The focus here is on differences in 'educational achievement': who achieves what at school, and why?

Issues in identifying the extent of crime, types of crime, and who are the criminals. The causes of crime and deviance.

Sociological Explanation
Students will choose topics to reflect their own interests/current events and develop and apply sociological explanations.

Classes will involve a mixture of lecture-based teaching and tutorial discussion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain the sociological perspective and show awareness of the importance of evidence
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of different theories used in sociological explanation;
  3. Apply sociological knowledge to explain specific features of society and social problems
  4. Compare, contrast, and critically evaluate different views of social phenomena;
  5. Convey ideas in a well-structured and coherent form.
Reading List
Browne, K. 2011. An Introduction to Sociology. 4th ed. Cambridge: Polity.
Giddens, A., and Sutton, W., 2012. Sociology. 7th ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Haralambos, M., and Holborn, M. 2008. Sociology: Themes & Perspectives. 7th ed. London: Collins.

Bruce, S. 1999. Sociology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cohen, S. 2011. Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. 3rd ed. London: Routledge.
Wilkinson, R.G., and Pickett, K. 2010. The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. London: Penguin.
Woodward, K., ed. 2004. Questioning Identity: Gender, Class, Ethnicity. London: Routledge/OU.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course, students will have strengthened their skills in independent learning, taking notes, and
planning and writing essays.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Maximillian Jaede
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information