Cultural Theory and Cultural Forms

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Donald Slater STC S310


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Culture and Society. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Cultural Theory and Cultural Forms is the core course for the MSc Culture and Society. The aim is to introduce you to a wide range of approaches, debates and issues that loom large in the study of cultural behaviour. By the end of this course you should feel you have a reasonable map of different aspects and approaches to researching cultural processes; and you should feel able to formulate your own research questions and strategies within the diverse traditions of the culture theory and cultural research.

In Term 1 we introduce the diverse approaches to cultural theory and the central debates that have structured the field, with particular attention to the ways in which these link to central sociological themes. The second focuses on understanding the production and consumption of culture, and on connecting cultural theory to empirical research.


10 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Reading weeks: week 6 (MT) and week 6 (LT)

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit one piece of non-assessed written work per term and prepare seminar presentations.

Indicative reading

Becker, Howard S. 1982.  Art Worlds.  Berkeley: University of California Press

Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. London: Routledge.

Butler, J  (1998) Merely Cultural. New Left Review.

Hall, S. (1992) `New Ethnicities' in Donald, J and Rattansi, A (eds.) (1992) “Race”, Culture, Difference, London: Routledge.

Hoggart, R.. 1998 [1957]. The Uses of Literacy. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

McGuigan, J. (2010) Cultural Analysis. London: Sage.

McRobbie, A. (2005) The Uses of Cultural Studies. London: Sage.

Oswell, D. (2006) Culture and Society. London: Sage.

Walton, D. (2012) Doing Cultural Theory. London: Sage


Essay (50%, 5000 words) in the LT.
Essay (50%, 5000 words) in the ST.

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

Attendance at all seminars and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 15
Merit 63.8
Pass 13.8
Fail 7.5

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2016/17: 30

Average class size 2016/17: 30

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 90%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)