Social Psychology (Sociology): Self and Interaction

The details
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
29 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA L3C8 Criminology with Social Psychology,
BA L3H8 Criminology with Social Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BA LHC8 Criminology with Social Psychology (Including 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 LCJ8 Sociology with Psychosocial Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA LJ8C Sociology with Psychosocial Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA LJC8 Sociology with Psychosocial Studies

Module description

Social Psychology is an interdisciplinary field at the intersection of Sociology and Psychology, which is concerned with the interrelations among individual, groups, and society. More specifically, it studies how individuals interact with one another, the way individuals influence social groups and vice versa, as well as the dynamics of intergroup relations.

The course will provide an introduction to a number of theories and themes in sociological social psychology that link the wider social structure with individual personality and conduct. Its aim is to provide an overview of the principle theoretical approaches to social psychology and how they may be applied to the understanding of social life.

The Autumn term will be devoted to an examination of contemporary perspectives on social psychology. We will begin by examining theories of the self and what constitutes an 'identity.' We will then look at individual attitudes and how they and linked to behaviour, and the shortcuts people use to facilitate judgment of others in an increasingly complex world. We will look at contemporary views of emotion, and attraction and interpersonal relationships. We will then look at social influence, and what motivates people to be obedient and to conform to social norms. We will finish up by looking at problems associated with intergroup relationship such as stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and aggression, and what motivates people to be altruistic.

The Spring term will be devoted to an examination of the historical origins of social psychology. We will look at late 19th century and early 10th century theories of the 'crowd'; the emergence of psychoanalysis and the implications of Freudian and post-Freudian theory on social psychology; as well as on the socio-cultural approaches to psychoanalysis, and how they can be practically applied in empirical sociological research. This section of the course will present an introduction to psychoanalysis, starting with Freud's concept of the unconscious, the defenses operating within it and how dreams have been seen as a route to understanding the unconscious mind. We will then look at Kleinian object relations theory and how anxiety can drive human behaviour. We will explore how social situations can be studied empirically by using psychosocial methodologies including particular interviewing techniques and observation.

Module aims

1. To provide an overview of the theoretical perspectives, classical and contemporary theories and research in sociological social psychology, critical social psychology and psycho-social studies.
2. To introduce major social psychological concepts and research methods in social psychology.
3. To foster an awareness of the current issues and debates within the field.
4. To broaden understanding of the dynamics and social interaction and social action.
5. To explore how the theoretical perspectives and research methods in social psychology may be applied to the study of social life.
6. To understand how quantitative and qualitative research methods can be applied to social psychological questions.
7. To develop presentational and critical writing skills.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this course you will:

1. Understand how social psychology has developed as a discipline.
2. Understand and reflect upon how social psychological theories can be applied to real life social situations and human behaviour.
3. Understand different methods for studying the social world in a social psychological way.
4. Develop the tools to critically engage with key classical and contemporary social psychological theory and psychoanalytic theory.
5. Reflect upon how social psychology can be used to understand everyday life and how we come to know about ourselves and others.

Module information

The assessment below is showing for 2019-20, the assessment for 2020-21 will be updated in September.

Learning and teaching methods

No information available.


  • Borch, Christian. (2012) The politics of crowds: an alternative history of sociology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Pick, Daniel. (1995) 'Freud's Group Psychology and the History of the Crowd', in History Workshop Journal. vol. 40 (1) , pp.39-62
  • Hogg, Michael A.; Tindale, R. Scott. (2003) Blackwell handbook of social psychology: group processes, Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Eichenbaum, Luise; Orbach, Susie. (1985, c1983) Understanding women, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Fahs, Breanne. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, US, (2012) 'Breaking body hair boundaries: Classroom exercises for challenging social constructions of the body and sexuality.', in Feminism & Psychology,. vol. 22 (4) , pp.482-506
  • Pick, Daniel. (1989) Faces of degeneration: a European disorder, c.1848-c.1918, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gilligan, Carol. Harvard U. (1979) 'Woman's Place in Man's Life Cycle.', in Harvard Educational Review,. vol. 49 (4) , pp.431-446
  • Owens, Timothy J.; Robinson, Dawn T.; Smith-Lovin, Lynn. (1975-) 'Three faces of identity.', in Annual Review of Sociology., pp.477-499
  • The Social Self by George Herbert Mead,
  • Eagly, Alice H. Purdue U, West LafayetteSteffen, Valerie J. (1984) 'Gender stereotypes stem from the distribution of women and men into social roles.', in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,. vol. 46 (4) , pp.735-754
  • Berkowitz, Leonard. (1987-11-28) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, V 20: Elsevier Science & Technology.
  • Cialdini, Robert B. Arizona State U, TempeSchaller, MarkHoulihan, DonaldArps, KevinFultz, JimBeaman, Arthur L. (1987) 'Empathy-based helping: Is it selflessly or selfishly motivated?', in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,. vol. 52 (4) , pp.749-758
  • Buss, David M. U Michigan, Ann Arbor, US. (1989) 'Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures.', in Behavioral and Brain Sciences,. vol. 12 (1) , pp.1-49
  • Eagly, Alice H. Purdue U, West LafayetteSteffen, Valerie J. (1986) 'Gender and aggressive behavior: A meta-analytic review of the social psychological literature.', in Psychological Bulletin,. vol. 100 (3) , pp.309-330
  • Cesar J. RebellonMichelle E. MariasseKaren T. Van GundyEllen S. Cohn. (2014) 'Rationalizing Delinquency: A Longitudinal Test of the Reciprocal Relationship Between Delinquent Attitudes and Behavior', in Social Psychology. vol. 77 (4) , pp.361-386
  • Milgram, Stanley. (2010, c2004) Obedience to authority: an experimental view, London: Pinter & Martin.
  • Harré, Rom. (2006) Key thinkers in psychology, London: SAGE.
  • Turner, Jonathan H.; Stets, Jan E. (2006-08) 'Sociological Theories of Human Emotions', in Annual Review of Sociology. vol. 32 (1) , pp.25-52
  • Plummer, Ken. (2010-05) 'Generational Sexualities, Subterranean Traditions, and the Hauntings of the Sexual World: Some Preliminary Remarks', in Symbolic Interaction. vol. 33 (2) , pp.163-190
  • Kimberlé Crenshaw on intersectionality: “I wanted to come up with an everyday metaphor that anyone could use”,
  • Frosh, Stephen. (c2012) A brief introduction to psychoanalytic theory, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Amos TverskyDaniel Kahneman. (4157) 'Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases', in Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. vol. 185 (4157) , pp.1124-1131

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   Essay 1    25% 
Coursework   Essay 2    25% 
Coursework   Journal entry 1     
Coursework   Journal entry 2     
Coursework   Journal entry 3    4.5% 
Coursework   Journal entry 4     4.5% 
Coursework   Journal entry 5    4.5% 
Coursework   Journal entry 6    4.5% 
Coursework   Journal entry 7    4.5% 
Coursework   Journal entry 8    4.5% 
Coursework   Film Essay    4.5% 
Exam  180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Shaul Bar Haim, email:
Dr Laurie James-Hawkins, email:
Dr Shaul Bar Haim and Dr Laurie James-Hawkins
Jane Harper, Student Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052 E-mail:



External examiner

Dr Jennifer Fleetwood
Goldsmiths, University of London
Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Available via Moodle
Of 82 hours, 82 (100%) hours available to students:
0 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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