Current Disputes in Sociology: Sociological Analysis III

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 07 October 2021
Friday 17 December 2021
07 October 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module aims to broaden and deepen your understanding of some of the important themes raised in SC201. The first term will build on some of the key concerns of sociology that you have encountered already and will introduce a range of approaches to understanding our (post)-modern and multicultural world. In the Autumn term we will look at topics such as “Modernity and Colonialism”, “feminist epistemology” and “language and the world”. The second term will look at the work of Foucault, Gilroy and Butler, among others, and will address topics such as “’race’”, “post-colonial theory”, the “Global South”, the “Anthropocene”, “sexual difference” and “animals in sociology”.

Overall, the module introduces some of the theoretical and conceptual concerns and problems which influence all sociological research and thinking.
The module is divided into 4 blocks:

Thinking Modernity and Postmodernity
Thinking Inequality
Thinking Power and its Consequences
Thinking Ahead

Module aims

To give students a critical awareness of a range of current topics in sociological theory.

To provide students with the capability to assess different theoretical perspectives and their relation to sociology.

To enable students to make links between theoretical approaches and sociological research.

Module learning outcomes

Having completed this module, students will gain:

An ability to think abstractly and to assess the validity of a range of different conceptual positions.

A critical awareness of a range of current topics in sociological theory.

Module information

Compulsory for all third year Sociology students

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). 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). 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.


  • Fraser, Mariam; Greco, Monica. (2005) The body: a reader, London: Routledge.
  • Ray, Larry J. (c1999, c2010) Theorizing classical sociology, Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Baert, Patrick; Silva, Filipe Carreira da. (2010) Social theory in the twentieth century and beyond, Cambridge: Polity.
  • Hutcheon, Linda. (2002) The politics of postmodernism, New York: Routledge.
  • Neuman, William Lawrence. (2014) Social research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches, Harlow: Pearson Education.
  • Du Bois, W. E. B.; Edwards, Brent Hayes. (2007) The souls of Black folk, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bonneuil, Christophe; Fressoz, Jean-Baptiste; Fernbach, David. (2017) The shock of the anthropocene: the earth, history and us, London: Verso.
  • Halewood, Michael. (2020) Language and process: words, Whitehead and the world, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig J. (2012) Contemporary sociological theory, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Hall, Stuart; Gieben, Bram. (1992) Formations of modernity, Cambridge: Polity Press in association with the Open University. vol. Understanding modern societies
  • Strinati, Dominic. (2004) An introduction to theories of popular culture, London: Routledge.
  • Savage, Mike; Williams, Karel. (2008-05) 'Elites: Remembered in Capitalism and Forgotten by Social Sciences', in The Sociological Review. vol. 56 (1_suppl) , pp.1-24
  • Foucault, Michel. (1990) The will to knowledge: the history of sexuality, volume 1, London: Penguin Books. vol. v. 1
  • Comaroff, Jean; Comaroff, John L. (2012-07) 'Theory from the South: Or, how Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa', in Anthropological Forum. vol. 22 (2) , pp.113-131
  • Dreyfus, Hubert L.; Rabinow, Paul. (1983) Michel Foucault: beyond structuralism and hermeneutics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Collini, Stefan. (8 April 2010) 'Blahspeak', in London Review of Books. vol. 32 (7) , pp.29-34
  • Ashe, Fidelma; Lloyd, Moya. (1999) Contemporary social and political theory: an introduction, Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Skeggs, Beverley. (1997) Formations of class and gender: becoming respectable, London: Sage. vol. Theory, culture & society
  • Geertz, Clifford. (1993) The interpretation of cultures: selected essays, London: FontanaPress.
  • Gilroy, Paul. (1998-01) 'Race ends here', in Ethnic and Racial Studies. vol. 21 (5) , pp.838-847
  • Brooks, Ann. (1997) 'Consensus and Conflict in Second Wave Feminism: Issues of Diversity and 'Difference' in Feminist Theorising', in Postfeminisms: feminism, cultural theory, and cultural forms, London: Routledge., pp.13-26
  • Gilroy, Paul. (1993) The black Atlantic: modernity and double consciousness, London: Verso.
  • Young, Robert. (2016) Postcolonialism: an historical introduction, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Dussel, Enrique. (1993-23) 'Eurocentrism and Modernity (Introduction to the Frankfurt Lectures)', in boundary 2. vol. 20 (3) , pp.65-
  • Williams, Karel. (2008) 'Elites: remembered in capitalism and forgotten by social sciences', in Remembering elites, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub. vol. The sociological review monographs
  • Backett-Milburn, Kathryn; McKie, Linda. (2001) Constructing gendered bodies, Basingstoke: Palgrave. vol. 59
  • Bordo, Susan. (c1993) Unbearable weight: feminism, Western culture, and the body, Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Harding, S. (1997) 'Feminist epistemology', in Feminisms, Oxford: Oxford University Press. vol. Oxford readers, pp.160-170
  • Geertz, Clifford. (1996, c1995) After the fact: two countries, four decades, one anthropologist, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  • Carter, Bob; Charles, Nickie. (2018-02) 'The animal challenge to sociology', in European Journal of Social Theory. vol. 21 (1) , pp.79-97
  • Žižek, Slavoj. (c2003) The puppet and the dwarf: the perverse core of Christianity, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. vol. Short circuits
  • Ashcroft, Bill; Griffiths, Gareth; Tiffin, Helen. (2006) The post-colonial studies reader, London: Routledge.
  • Stryker, Susan; Whittle, Stephen. (2006) The transgender studies reader, New York: Routledge.
  • Berger, John. (c1972) Ways of seeing, London: British Broadcasting Corporation/Penguin Books.

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.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Maitrayee Deka, email:
Prof Michael Halewood, email:
Taught by various members of the Department
Jane Harper, Undergraduate Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052 E-mail:



External examiner

Dr Aneira Edmunds
School of Law, Politics & Sociology
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

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