Module Details

SC901-7-AU-CO: Topics In Contemporary Social Theory

Note: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

Year: 2017/18
Department: Sociology
Essex credit: 20
ECTS credit: 10
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Michael Halewood
Teaching Staff: Dr Michael Halewood
Contact details: Michele Hall, Graduate Administrator, Telephone 01206 873051, Email:

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This module aims to give an overview of some important and significant debates in contemporary social theory, while encouraging students to think analytically about theoretical questions. Through looking at a range of writers such as Bourdieu, Butler, Foucault and others, the module analyses changing notions of subjectivity and agency and the complex inter-relations between these and enduring social structures and conceptions of the world. The module will outline the important contribution of social theory in developing politically engaged ways of understanding conceptions of the social that have arisen from critical traditions such as poststructuralism, feminism, and actor network theory.
We will engage with a broad range of questions, including: What do we mean by "the social"? What problems does the materiality of the body pose for sociology?

Learning and Teaching Methods


100 per cent Coursework Mark


one essay of approximately 5,000 words


  • Suggested Reading:
  • Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Butler, J. (1993). Bodies That Matter, Routledge, New York and London
  • Foucault, M. (1987), 'Nietzsche, geneaology, history' in Rabinow, P. (ed). The Foucault Reader, Harmondsworth, Penguin
  • Haraway, D. (1991) Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. The Reinvention of Nature, Routledge, London
  • Latour, B. (1993). We Have Never Been Modern, Harvester Wheatsheaf, Hemel Hempstead
  • Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Lopez, J. & Scott, J. (2000). Social Structure. Buckingham: Open University Press
  • Sayer, A. (2000). Realism and Social Science. London: Sage.
  • Stones, R. (2008). (ed.) Key Sociological Thinkers. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Williams, J. (2005). Understanding Poststructuralism, Acumen Publishing Ltd., Chesham

Further information