CARE07047 2017 Contemporary Sociological Theory

General Details

Full Title
Contemporary Sociological Theory
Transcript Title
Contemp Sociological Theory
85 %
Subject Area
CARE - Social Studies
SOCS - Social Sciences
07 - NFQ Level 7
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2017 - Full Academic Year 2017-18
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Perry Share, Dr. Jacqueline O'Toole, Susan McDonnell, Breda McTaggart, Jessica Mannion, Karin White, Maire Hanniffy, Gwen Scarbrough
Programme Membership
SG_HJOIN_H08 201700 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics SG_HJOIN_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics

This module sets out to trace the development of the main theoretical approaches within the sociological tradition. During the semester, students will analyse the context in which these theories have developed, how the theories have been used, the key debates surrounding the theories, and the influences they have had on the development of later theories. Over the course of the module students will have the opportunity to examine cultural and structural explanations of empirical phenomena and understand how sociological theory is employed in empirical research.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Outline the development of contemporary sociological theory


Discuss how contemporary sociological theories have been used within the field of sociology


Examine the key debates surrounding the theories


Identify the influences they have had on the development of later theories


Describe how sociological theory is employed in empirical research

Teaching and Learning Strategies

 Modular learning will occur as lectures, tutorials discussion and debate. This will evolve depending on student need.

Module Assessment Strategies

The module will be assessed using Continuous Assessment.

Repeat Assessments

Should a student fail the module they will be required to resubmit on the failed component(s).

Indicative Syllabus

1. Structural-functionalism

  • Durkheim, Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown
  • Social structure and anomie

2. Conflict theory

  • Marx and C. Wright Mills
  • Inequality, conflict and order

3. Symbolic Interactionism

  • Goffman's "The Presentation of the Self in the Everyday"
  • George Herbert Mead

4. Phenomenology

  • Meaning and materiality
  • Schultz and Lebenswelt ("Life-world")

5. Structuralism/Post-Structuralism

  • Bourdieu's (2000) "Bodily Knowledge"
  • Levi-Strauss

6. Critical Theory

  • Jürgen Habermas
  • Foucault
  • Edward Said "Orientalism"
  • Grand/meta-narrative

7. Feminist Theory

  • Sex and gender
  • Feminism and the body (Susan Bordo)
  • Intersectionality and feminism (bell hooks)

8. Controversies in Social Theory

  • The individual in society
  • Sociobiology
  • Queer theory (Judith Butler)

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
50 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
50 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Project work, written assignment Continuous Assessment Assignment 50 % Week 7 1,2,3

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 50 % End of Semester 3,4,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Lecture 3 Weekly 3.00
Tutorial Flat Classroom tutorial 3 Weekly 3.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 6.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Appelrouth, S. Desfor Edles, L. (2008) Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory: Text and Readings. New York: Pine Forge Press.

Bordo, Susan R. 1993. “The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity.” Pp. 165-185 from Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body. Berkley, University of California Press.

Bourdieu, Pierre (2000). Bodily Knowledge. Ch. 4 in Pascalian Meditations.” Pp. 128-42.

Butler, Judith. 2005. “Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.” Pp. 496-504 in Feminist Theory: A Reader (2nd Edition), edited by W. K. Kolmar and F. Bartkowski. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education

Chodorow, Nancy (1978). Part I., pp. 3-52 in The Reproduction of Mothering. Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Goffman, Irving (1959). Introduction. Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.Pp. 1 –16.

Habermas, Jurgen (1987). The Tasks of a Critical Theory of Society. In Theory of Communicative Action, v2. Pp. 374-403.

Merton, Robert K. (1957). Social Structure and Anomie. Ch. 6 in Social Theory and Social Structure.Pp. 131-160.