[SI0169] - Key Ideas in Social Science
Module Code: SI0169
Module Leader: Ralph Fevre
Number of Credits: 20
Teaching Method: Lectures and seminars, prepared for using directed readings linked to specific tasks
Assessment: Coursework 2000 words (20%) - Autumn Semester; Written examination 2 hours (80%) - Spring Semester
Degree Schemes: Criminology; Education; Social Science; Sociology
The aim of the module is to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to the origins and development of social scientific theories. It introduces the origins of social scientific theories in historical and contemporary context. There is detailed examination of the contribution of key theorists and theories in a range of social science disciplines, for example: Durkheim, Mead, Goffman, Foucault, Parsons, Bourdieu, Marx, Weber, Simmel. The module explores the legacy these theorists have bequeathed to contemporary social science. A central theme will be the way in which this legacy provides an enduring resource for contemporary social science. To this end students are encouraged to see theorists and theories as complementary rather than as replacements for each other. The module is delivered using dedicated lectures, seminars, directed reading and a number of formative assessment events.
Knowledge and Comprehension
- Explain the origins of ideas in social science.
- Summarise the works of important social scientific thinkers demonstrating some knowledge of the original texts.
- Describe and examine a range of key concepts and theoretical approaches within social science.
Skills (Application and Analysis)
- Contrast points of view and assess the merits of various explanations of events and behaviour.
- Explain theories and concepts using examples.
- Undertake and present scholarly work using a variety of sources including some identified by autonomous research.
Understanding (Synthesis and Evaluation)
- Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between innovative thinking in social science and influences such as the work of other thinkers and social, economic and political events.
- Appraise theories by subjecting them to analysis and making reference to evidence.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice.
The module will contribute to the development of the following transferable skills such as problem solving, conceptual abilities and communication skills.
Synopsis of Module Content
Modernity and social theory; Durkheim; social science and emotions; social theory and gender; interactionism; ethnomethodology; Goffman; Foucault; sociologies of science; Parsons; Bourdieu; Marx and Engels ; Weber; hidden voices in social theory; Simmel.
Opportunities for Formative Assessment
Formative assessment will involve the preparation and presentation of a short (1500 word) essay for submission in week 6 of the Autumn Semester. Further formative assessment (in the form of quizzes and other bespoke events) will be organised in two lectures in the Autumn Semester and two lectures in the Spring Semester.
Arrangements for Feedback on Work
Tutors provide written feedback on summative assessment and an opportunity for students to discuss their marks and comments (individually where appropriate). Generic feedback is provided in lectures and via Learning Central. Feedback on examinations after the conclusion of the lecture programme is provided via Learning Central.
Fevre, R. and Bancroft A. (2010) Dead White Men and Other Important People – Sociology’s Big Ideas, London: Palgrave. (Additional Information)
A large amount of other reading material which is relevant to this module, including the original texts of many of the theorists it covers, exists in the university libraries and on the web. Texts which are available in multiple copies in Cardiff libraries include:
Cuff, E.C., Sharrock, W.W. and Francis D.W. Perspectives in Sociology, 4th ed., Routledge, 1998.
Collins, R. Four Sociological Traditions, Oxford University Press, 1994.
Craib, I. Classical Social Theory, Oxford University Press, 1997.
Harrington A. (ed.) Modern Social Theory – an Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2005.
Hughes, J.A., Martin, P.J. and Sharrock, W.W. Understanding Classical Sociology: Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Sage, 1995.
Lee D. and Newby H. The Problem of Sociology, Routledge, 1983.
Morrison K. Marx, Durkheim, Weber - formations of modern social thought, Sage, 1995
A variety of lecture material for this module and other reading resources, including extracts from original texts, are available on Learning Central.
An introduction to Sociology is also available here.