Not available in 2020/21
SO427      Half Unit
Modern Social Thought

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Nigel Dodd STC S106


This course is available on the MSc in Political Sociology, MSc in Political Theory and MSc in Sociology. 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.


30 hours of seminars in the LT.

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

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.

An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on the first Tuesday of Summer Term. 

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

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2019/20: 26

Average class size 2019/20: 27

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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