What you will study
This module examines transformations across four key areas of concern – work, culture, life, and control. It explores a diverse range of sociological theories that have engaged with these themes. These include classical social theory, symbolic interactionism, post-structuralist theory, cultural theory, feminist theories, postcolonial theory, science and technology studies, ecological thought, and global social theory.
Block 1: Work.
The organisation of work is one of the central structuring principles of society. This first block explores social theories that have emerged from struggles over the organisation, experience and meaning of work. What forms of work exist, and what counts as work? How does the organisation of work intersect with wider issues of power and inequality? What transformations are happening in contemporary work? The topics you'll cover includes work and capitalism, feminist theories of work and social reproduction, racial capitalism, precarious work and digital platforms.
Block 2: Culture
The analysis of culture, in all its many forms, has long occupied a distinctive place in social theory. Why and how does culture matter? This block will explore culture as a fluid site for meaning making, identity formation, and the reproduction of power and inequalities. You'll explore how ideas of nation, class, race and gender get remade and resisted through changing cultural practices and spaces. The topics you'll cover includes culture and nation, class and distinction, city cultures and body cultures.
Block 3: Life
In this block you'll explore a range of social theories that focus upon our everyday and intimate lives. You'll explore how the experience of the everyday is always shaped by wider social structures and power relations. The topics you'll cover includes practices of everyday life; intersectionality; biopolitics, health and illness; digitally-mediated lives.
Block 4: Control
This block explores theories of social control and social order. You’ll move from examining repressive social control, that involves force and constraint, through to forms of permissive social control, that work through freedom and circulation. You’ll explore how social control has continuously been contested by resistance, radical thought, and social movements. The topics you'll cover will include prisons and policing, abolitionist thought, digital surveillance and soft control, modernity and the climate emergency.
All of the topics in this module will be illustrated using a range of audio, video, textbook and interactive materials.
The module gives you the opportunity to discuss its ideas and arguments in a range of online activities, workshops and assessment tasks. You'll also be given skills and training to help you communicate your ideas in both academic and professional settings.
This module will equip you with a range of transferable skills, such as theoretical comprehension, communication skills for different audiences, critical analysis, working with others, presentation and blog writing, planning, researching and writing an extended essay.