Power and Agency in a Global World

The details
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 06 October 2022
Friday 30 June 2023
07 October 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA LV31 History and Sociology,
BA LV32 History and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LV38 History and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA LV3C History and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LQ32 Literature and Sociology,
BA LQ33 Literature and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LQ38 Literature and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA QL23 Literature and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LP33 Media and Digital Culture,
BA LP34 Media and Digital Culture (including Placement Year),
BA P300 Media and Digital Culture (including Foundation Year),
BA PL33 Media and Digital Culture (including Year Abroad),
BA LV35 Philosophy and Sociology,
BA LV36 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LV83 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA VL53 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA VL58 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA CL83 Sociology with Social Psychology,
BA CL93 Sociology with Social Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BA CLV3 Sociology with Social Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L300 Sociology,
BA L301 Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L304 Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA L306 Sociology (Including Placement Year),
MSOCL399 Sociology,
MSOCLA40 Sociology (Including Placement Year),
MSOCLA41 Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LM38 Sociology and Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA LM39 Sociology and Criminology,
BA LMH9 Sociology and Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LMHX Sociology and Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA LL23 Sociology and Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL24 Sociology and Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA LL32 Sociology and Politics,
BA L3J9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA L3M9 Sociology with Human Rights,
BA LMJ9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA P540 Journalism and Sociology,
BA P541 Journalism and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA P542 Journalism and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L315 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research),
BSC L316 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research) (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L317 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research) (Including Placement Year),
BSC L310 Sociology with Data Science,
BSC L311 Sociology with Data Science (including Year Abroad),
BSC L312 Sociology with Data Science (including Placement Year),
BSC L313 Sociology with Data Science (including foundation Year)

Module description

This module situates different theoretical approaches within sociology in historical and contemporary context. We will explore the relevance and value of social theory for understanding global social, political and economic change.

To understand social theory, it is useful to have a good understanding of world-changing social processes and their history, including the rise of British empire and European and North American colonization, and the expansion of human rights over the past 200 years.

Module aims

The module’s primary aim is therefore to understand social theory in historical, global context. We will critically explore the ideas of major 19th and 20th century social theo-rists through engagement with the primary writing of key sociologists.

Module learning outcomes

1) To situate the work of social theorists in historical context by exploring major historical developments including the racial, economic and imperial origins of European colonialism and the influence of gender, economic and racial equality movements from abolitionism in the 18th century to colonial independence movements in the 20th-century.

2) To understand and critically analyse the ideas of major 19th and 20th century social theorists through engagement with the primary writing of key sociologists.

3) To understand how social theorists have studied gender divisions, global inequalities, racial and ethnic identities and oppression over modern history, from the revolutionary era of the 1770s to 1790s to the present.

Module information

This module is divided into two sections. In the autumn term, we focus on major social and political developments during the 19th century. We offer a decolonial perspec-tive of the ideas of three pioneers of social thought: Marx, Durkheim, and Weber. Although we think that it is important and valuable to discuss some of these early thinkers' major concepts and theories, we also think that it is crucial to situate their own viewpoints in the context of their own racial, economic and national privilege, through reading critical reinterpretations of their work by Nicole Curato, Julian Go and others, and through considering whether economic, national and racialized ad-vantages contributed to their reputation as the leading 'fathers' of the sociological canon. We will ask: what is a scholarly 'canon' and why are some scholars seen as be-ing inside it, while other scholars are relegated to the periphery?

In spring term, we focus on important thinkers and sociological trends in the late 19th-century to early 20th century onwards, including Black feminist theory; neo-Marxist criticisms of capitalism; post-colonial theory, and theories of social stigma. The mod-ule's overarching aim is encourage you to engage in theoretical thinking, writing and discussion, not just report on the ideas of the theorists. We will do this through read-ing the theorists' original writing, through 'book clubs', and through engaging with key concepts and themes

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching approach As there are still restrictions related to COVID-19 in place, some of the teaching on most modules will take place online. Most modules in Sociology are divided into lec-tures of around 50 minutes and a class of around 50 minutes. Some are taught as a 2hr seminar, and others via a 50-minute lecture and 2-hr lab. For the majority of modules the lecture-type content will be delivered online – either timetabled as a live online session or available on Moodle in the form of pre-recorded videos. You will be ex-pected to watch this material and engage with any suggested activities before your class each week. Most classes labs and seminars will be taught face-to-face (assuming social distancing allows this). Please note that you should be spending up to eight hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g. 32 hours in total for four 30-credit modules). The lectures provide an overview of the substantive debates around the topic of the week, while the classes will give you the opportunity to reflect on your learning and actively engage with your peers to develop your understanding further. The weekly classes will take place face-to-face (unless there is a change in the current COVID safety measures). Classes are mandatory as they provide an opportunity to talk with your class teacher and other students. The classes will be captured and available via Listen Again. However, if you want to gain the most you can from these classes it is very important that you attend and engage. Please note that the recording of classes is at the discretion of the teacher.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Assignment 1    50% 
Coursework   Assignment 2    50% 
Exam  Main exam: Remote, Open Book, 24hr during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment exam: Remote, Open Book, 24hr during September (Reassessment Period) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Maitrayee Deka, email:
Prof Linsey McGoey, email:
Professor Linsey McGoey, Dr Maitrayee Deka
Jane Harper, Student Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052 E-mail:



External examiner

Dr Aneira Edmunds
School of Law, Politics & Sociology
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 688 hours, 95 (13.8%) hours available to students:
593 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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