Paranormal in Society - SOC00009H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Sociology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Robin Wooffitt
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module occurrences

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19

Module aims

To introduce students to the key substantive and methodological issues in the study of anomalous or exceptional human experiences.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should have

  • developed a knowledge of the range, incidence and characteristics of what are known as anomalous or paranormal phenomena;
  • a critical appreciation of some of the conceptual and methodological issues which inform social science responses to these kinds of experiences;
  • an overview of the relationship between sociology and scientific attempts to understand anomalous experiences


Task Length % of module mark
4000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

As in the First Year, you will continue to receive feedback on your formative assessments via the meetings with your supervisor at the beginning of term. It remains important to attend these meetings with the relevant documentation. However, you will ALSO receive extended feedback on the summative assessment work submitted in this second stage of your degree.

Because all of your summative work is examined by at least two members of the Department, and much of it will also be considered by the external examiners, there is an obvious conflict between the time that this takes and our desire to get feedback to you in useful format as swiftly as possible. For this reason, we will release the marks and the feedback forms to you as soon as they have been agreed internally that is, within the Department and before the external examiners have approved them. This means that we can get the feedback to you at least a fortnight earlier than would otherwise be the case but it also means that the marks for each module may change depending on the decisions of the external examiners, although this is rare.

You should note that, due to the fact that all submissions are second-marked and examined by multiple members of the academic staff, there is no appeal against the marks given.

Essays: Detailed feedback for your essays will be found on the feedback forms you receive and through comments written on the work itself. These forms rate your performance according to essay content, organisation and style, using the benchmarks provided by the Department s published marking criteria. They will comment further and in detail about any specific strengths and weaknesses and will provide suggestions as to how you might improve your work in future. You should make an appointment to see your supervisor to discuss these forms and it may be helpful to take with you a copy of the written work that you submitted. If further clarification is required, this may in consultation with your supervisor be sought from one of the examiners.

Key texts

  • Adorno, T. W. (2002) The Stars Down to Earth and other essays on the Irrational in Culture. London: Routledge
  • Hufford, D. J. (1982) The Terror that Comes in the Night: An Experience-Centred Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press
  • Cardena, E., Lynn, S. J. and Krippner, S. (eds.) (2000) Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
  • Wooffitt, R. (2006) The Language of Mediums and Psychics: the Social Organisation of Everyday Miracles. Aldershot: Ashgate

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.