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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Sociology

SOCI54630: Public Sociology: Theory and Practice

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22

Prerequisites

  • None

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None

Aims

  • The module aims to provide students with an advanced education in:
  • 1. the range of theories and perspectives that inform and shape sociology and social practice, and their relationships to public sociology and social transformations;
  • 2. the methodological, epistemological and ethical implications of such theoretical approaches;
  • 3. the interrelationships of power, social divisions, social diversity and social inequality and their application to social action and public sociology;
  • 4. approaches for conceptualising the relationship between the individual and the social world;
  • 5. approaches and strategies for the conduct of sociological inquiry and how it can inform and support social action and collaborative practices.

Content

  • The module examines contemporary sociological theories and how they apply to contemporary issues and social transformations in modern society. The module will place sociological theories in their historical contexts, exploing different theorizations of social divisions, examining conceptualizations of self and identity, and assessing how theorists have sought to account for recent social changes. The module will examine their application to real world contexts providing students with an advanced level understanding of how sociological inquiry is communicated, disseminated and used to inform and activate social change at the local, national and global level.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module, students will:
  • have an advanced understanding of the range of theories, perspectives and debates that inform and shape sociological work, and their relationships to public sociology and social transformations;
  • understand the methodological, epistemological and ethical implications of such theoretical approaches.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • be able to use these approaches to understand and analyse power, social divisions, social diversity and social inequality;
  • be able to use these approaches to conceptualize the relationship between the individual and the social world;
  • to be able to apply sociological theory and sociological inquiry to contemporary issues, inform and support social action and collaborative practice, and develop strategies to inform public debate and activate social change.
Key Skills:
  • Be able to evaluate critically evidence and ideas at the forefront of research and thinking in the subject;
  • Be able to deal with highly complex issues and communicate conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • Demonstrate a high degree of self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems;
  • Be able to continue to acquire knowledge and understanding at an advanced level.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • During periods of online teaching, for asynchronous lectures in particular, planned lecture hours may include activities that would normally have taken place within the lecture itself had it been face-to-face in a lecture room, and/or those necessary to adapt the teaching and learning materials effectively to online learning;
  • Lectures: introduce key concepts, perspectives and debates within sociological theory, and examine their application to social practice and public sociology. Lectures also highlight the methodological, epistemological and ethical implications of key concepts and approaches;
  • Seminars: enable students to evaluate sociological arguments and evidence, and to consider what is distinctive about sociological approaches. Students will be encouraged, within seminars, to develop their own sociologically-informed questions and analyses, and to present complex scholarly work orally in a coherent and accessible manner. Seminars will include analysis of: the relationship between theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues; the relationship between the individual and the social world, and how these apply to contemporary issues and contexts at local, national and global level;
  • Independent Study: allows students to read widely around different topics, drawing on debates within scholarly journals and research monographs, and developing skills in critically engaging with literature and dissemination;
  • The essay will demonstrate student' ability to engage in independent analysis of complex issues and relationships related to social transformations and public sociology;
  • The oral summative assessment will assess both depth of understanding, breadth of knowledge and students’ ability to synthesize knowledge, construct an argument and communicate this coherently and effectively within an oral seminar presentation. Assessment of oral presentations will be carried out by the course team.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 weekly 1 20
Tutorials 20 weekly 1 20
Preparation & Reading 260
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100%
Component: Oral Presentation Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Oral Presentation up to 10 minutes 100%

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive direct feedback in relation to their oral contributions to lectures and in seminars. They will receive formative assessment in relation to written preparatory tasks and seminar presentations. Individual surgery sessions will be timetabled in relation to students' plans for their summative assignments.


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University