Social Psychology (Sociology): Self and Interaction

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
14 September 2023


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 first part of the Autumn term will be devoted to an examination of the historical origins of social psychology. We will look at late 19th century and early 20th century theories of the ‘crowd’, 'group', and 'imitation'; 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 today. We will then turn to discuss criticisms and debates over psychoanalysis and gender. The next section of the term will focus on life-course psychology from childhood, to midlife, through old age and to death. We will look at stage models by Erikson, Levinson, and contemporary theorists, again highlighting the feminist critique of theories of life-stages. Finally, in the last section of the term we will discuss theories of 'self and the body', namely the 'psycho-social' body, theories about narration of the body, and intersectionality.

The Spring 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 the module by looking at problems associated with intergroup relationship such as stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and aggression, and what motivates people to be altruistic. Throughout Spring term, we will examine the ways in which quantitative methodology has been used to address issues in contemporary social psychology.

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

Please click on the link below to view the Introduction video to SC213 Social Psychology (Sociology): Self and Interaction

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 lectures 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 expected 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). This module SC213 will include a range of activities to help you and your teachers to check your understanding and progress. These are: Reading assignments, journal entries evaluating current events in light of social psychological concepts, and a film essay which applies social psychological concepts to popular movies. 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). You are strongly encouraged to attend the classes 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. 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).


  • Moscovici, S. (1986) ‘The Discovery of the Masses’, in Changing Conceptions of Crowd Mind and Behavior. New York, NY: Springer, pp. 5–25.
  • Vargas, E.V. et al. (2008) ‘The Debate between Tarde and Durkheim’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26(5), pp. 761–777. Available at:
  • Borch, C. (2012) The politics of crowds: an alternative history of sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at:
  • Miller, V. and Hayward, K.J. (2019) ‘Corrigendum to: “I did my bit”: Terrorism, Tarde and the Vehicle Ramming Attack as an Imitative Event’, The British Journal of Criminology, 59(1), pp. 1–23. Available at:
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 Coursework weighting
Coursework   Reading assignment 1    25% 
Coursework   Reading assignment 2    25% 
Coursework   Blog post    20% 
Coursework   SP & Film Essay     30% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book, 180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book, 180 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Additional coursework information

Please note that the assessment information maybe updated before the start of the academic year.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Shaul Bar Haim, email:
Mr Robin Brooker, email:
Mx Ej-Francis Caris-Hamer, email:



External examiner

Dr Emily Gray
University of Warwick
Assistant Professor of Criminology
Available via Moodle
Of 58 hours, 40 (69%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
16 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.