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Unit information: Sociological Theory and the Concept of Culture in 2020/21

Unit name Sociological Theory and the Concept of Culture
Unit code SPAIM0049
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Perez-Solorzano Borragan
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This unit provides a broad grounding in contemporary sociological theory. It does so by paying critical attention to the concept of culture as it has been developed by social and cultural theorists in the contemporary era. The notion of culture has been a staple focus of sociological theory and is a useful lens through which to see different types of theory in operation, what separates them and what makes them still relevant. The unit will examine the contribution of particular theorists from particular theoretical perspectives. Important approaches or schools of thought within social/sociological/cultural theory will be analysed including perspectives from areas such as Marxism, critical theory, post-structuralism, feminism, postmodernism and post-colonial studies. Thinkers addressed may include Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt School, Jean Baudrillard, Raymond Williams, Mary Douglas, Judith Butler, Paul Gilroy, Marth Nussbaum, Clifford Geertz, Gayatri Spivak and Edward Said.

Aims:

The aims of the unit are to:

  • explicate and critically evaluate key themes, concepts and perspectives in sociological/social/cultural theory
  • provide a critical account of some of the ways sociological theory has developed over the last fifty years in engagement with the broad notion of culture
  • critically engage with key historical and conceptual approaches in the sociology of culture and cultural theory

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • explicate and critically evaluate key themes, concepts and perspectives in sociological/social/cultural theory
  • provide a critical account of some of the ways sociological theory has developed over the last fifty years in engagement with the broad notion of culture
  • critically engage with key historical and conceptual approaches in the sociology of culture and cultural theory

Teaching details

The method of teaching will be a form of blended learning which involves both asynchronous online student learning, synchronous weekly seminar/webinars, and in person teaching on campus.

Assessment Details

One 4000 word summative essay (100%). Formative assessment will be built into the asynchronous element of the unit.

Reading and References

Calhoun, C. et aI., eds. Contemporary Sociological Theory, Oxford, Blackwell, 2002

Gilroy, P. After Empire: Melancholia or convivial culture, Routledge, 2004

Foucault, M. The Foucault Reader, ed. P. Rabinow, Penguin, 1984

Giddens, A. & S. Turner, Social Theory Today, Polity 1986

Spivak, G. In Other Words: Essays in Cultural Politics, Routledge, 2012

Raymond Williams (1963) Culture and Society, Penguin, 1963.

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