SO490      Half Unit
Contemporary Social Thought

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Chetan Bhatt STC.S107


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Human Rights, MSc in Human Rights and Politics, MSc in Political Sociology and MSc in Sociology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Contemporary Social Thought considers new and critical issues in contemporary social theory to expose students to current and emerging concerns. Indicative topics include global sociology; humanism; secularism; politics and violence; wars and technology; cosmopolitanism; diaspora and modernity; post-colonialism; the politics of gender identity; violent religious movements; the new far-right.


To enable students to:

• Demonstrate understanding and application of contemporary social theory from a range of perspectives

• Demonstrate understanding of a range of methodological approaches to sociological analysis

• Develop a critical appreciation of different forms of theorising and researching the social

• Critically engage with key texts and thinkers in the field

• Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of current debates in contemporary social thought


30 hours of seminars in the MT.

Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in MT Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

One essay of 1,500 words to be submitted in Michaelmas Term.

Indicative reading

U. Beck The Cosmopolitan Vision;

C. Calhoun et al. Contemporary Sociological Theory;

N. Gane The Future of Social Theory;


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

An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on Wednesday week one of LT. 

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

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2018/19: 40

Average class size 2018/19: 41

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication