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

Postgraduate Course: Key Concepts in Global Social Change (SCIL11030)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to key sociological concepts and debates around them, considering their relevance for understanding and explaining major issues in global social change. It aims to identify, define and interrogate fundamental concepts in sociology, while also illustrating these through timely and topical social issues of global scope. While it addresses globalisation, it puts this in historical perspective, and relates it to enduring ideas in sociological analysis. The course aims to support students in developing a theoretical framework for their own research agenda.
Course description This core course for the MSc degree Sociology and Global Change introduces students to key sociological debates and theoretical approaches to the transformation of social relations in a context of globalisation and global capitalism. Students critically engage with the concepts used for exploring processes, dimensions, and mechanisms relating to some of the most pressing global issues of our time. Global heating, the financialisation of capitalism, the spread of diseases, transnational lives, refugee flows, digital cultures and digital labour, global governance and global social movements, are just a few examples of social changes operating on a global scale. In this course, we focus on how global processes interact with people¿s everyday lives, cultural and social activities and how individuals perceive, react to or cope with global forces.

The course is delivered as joint teaching by Sociology staff. It is structured around central dimensions of globalisation and the research interests of Sociology staff through research-based teaching, thus combining a focus on concepts and theoretical frameworks with particular empirical applications. This means that every year, the content of the course varies. In 2021-22, the course will cover the following concepts and themes: intimacy and ¿individualisation¿; the function of race; individual and societal responses to climate change; capitalism and crisis; work and digital economies; nationalism and the nation state; social movements and global change; decolonial epistemologies; and global culture.
The course involves a weekly lecture and class discussion activities, delivered live online, and weekly small group tutorials from weeks 2 to 10.
Two assignments and weekly tutorials are designed to support students in working towards developing a conceptual framework for their own independent research agenda.
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) There are two assignments for this course. A mid-semester short essay and a final essay due after the end of the course. For the mid-semester essay (1,500 words), students apply a concept covered in the lectures in the course to analyse a recent event of global significance. In the final essay (4,000 words), students write a conceptual essay about a particular aspect of the social world that they are considering researching.
Feedback All essays are submitted electronically, marked and moderated, and given extensive written feedback. Students receive formative feedback on two pieces of written work not submitted for assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Construct a sociologically informed, critical argument, using appropriate evidence, theoretical frameworks and concepts, about contemporary global phenomena.
  2. Demonstrate advanced sociological understanding of how social and cultural contexts shape relationships between individuals, groups and social institutions.
  3. Critically analyse and discuss key social processes underpinning continuities and changes in global contexts, and how those may reflect social diversity and global inequalities.
  4. Outline a conceptual framework that could underpin an independent sociological research agenda on a global issue.
Reading List
Bhambra, G.K. (2014). Connected Sociologies. London: Bloomsbury.
Delamont, Sara. 2003. Feminist Sociology. London, UK: SAGE Publications.
Go, Julian and Krause, Monika. (2016). Fielding Transnationalism. West Sussex, UK; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Lechner, F. J. Boli, J. (Eds.). (2014). The Globalization Reader. 5th Edition. Wiley & Sons.
Li, Peilin, and Laurence Roulleau-Berger. (2018). Post-Western Sociology - From China to Europe. London: Taylor and Francis.
Meghji, Ali. (2021). Decolonizing Sociology: An Introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Nehring, Daniel and Kerrigan, Dylan. (2020). Imagining Society¿the Case for Sociology. Bristol: Bristol University Press.
Pieterse, J. N. (2018) Multipolar Globalization: Emerging Economies and Development. Routledge.
Rocca, Jean-Louis. 2015. A Sociology of Modern China. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Sassen, S. (2007). A Sociology of Globalization. New York: W.W. Norton
Turner, Charles. 2010. Investigating Sociological Theory. London: SAGE Publications.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sophia Woodman
Tel: (0131 6)51 4745
Course secretaryMr Adam Petras
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