SO490      Half Unit
Contemporary Social Thought

This information is for the 2020/21 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; 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


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, online materials and seminars totalling a minimum of 20 hours 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 essay of 1,500 words to be submitted in Lent Term.

Indicative reading

A. Loomba (2015), Colonialism/Postcolonialism [Third Edition], Routledge.

A. Elliott (2014), Contemporary Social Theory: an introduction [Second Edition], Routledge.

J. Wolff (2015), An Introduction to Political Philosophy [Third Edition], Oxford University Press.


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 Wednesday week one of ST. 

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: 18

Average class size 2019/20: 18

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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