SO427      Half Unit
Modern Social Thought

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Nigel Dodd STC S106


This course is available on the MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities, MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Sociology, MSc in Sociology, MSc in Sociology (Contemporary Social Thought) and MSc in Sociology (Research). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Contemporary social theory. An introduction to the historical background, context and output of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault, and Jean Baudrillard, and a close reading and study of some of their most significant texts.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Reading week: week 6 (LT)

Formative coursework

One formative essay in LT

Indicative reading

The following is merely a sample list of some of the texts to be covered: Benjamin, W: 'Theses on the philosophy of history' & The Arcades Project (Section N); Adorno, T: 'Theses against Occultism' & Negative Dialectics (various sections); Foucault, M: The History of Madness & The Order of Things (various sections); Baudrillard, J: Symbolic Exchange and Death (mainly chapter 5) & The Spirit of Terrorism. A number of secondary readings will be recommended, but students will be strongly discouraged from relying on these.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Two hard copies of the assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office S116, no later than 16:30 on the first Tuesday of Summer Term. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 33.3
Merit 50
Pass 16.7
Fail 0

Teachers' comment

I really enjoy teaching this course and have been very fortunate over the years to have had some fantastic students from several LSE departments taking it. The seminars are quite open ended and informal, but they work only because students get through a lot of reading. Please bear this in mind before signing up - it's hard work!

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2015/16: 35

Average class size 2015/16: 34

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills