Imagining Sociological Alternatives - SOC00046H

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  • Department: Sociology
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Brian Loader
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19
    • See module specification for other years: 2017-18

Module occurrences

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19

Module aims

This module aims:

  • To invite students to consider that alternative models to the dominant neoliberal social order are possible through a critical reading of sociological theory both past and present.
  • To draw upon a range of international social theorists in order to examine the often neglected objective of these scholars to imagine alternatives to their existing societies and its perceived problems
  • To evaluate utopian and futurist analytical approaches as tools for social action, organization and policy-making in order to enable students to develop critical problem solving faculties
  • To explore a number of contemporary social problems as a means to critically examine sociological propositions for change and alternative social assemblages.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should:

  • Have an understanding of alternative models to the dominant neoliberal social order developed through a critical reading of sociological theory both past and present;
  • Be able to draw upon a range of international social theorists in order to examine the often neglected objective of these scholars to imagine alternatives to their existing societies and their perceived problems;
  • Be able to evaluate utopian and futurist analytical approaches as tools for social action, organization and policy-making;
  • Have considered a number of contemporary social problems as a means to critically examine sociological propositions for change and alternative social assemblages.

Module content

Indicative Module Content:

  • Introductory Session: Can sociology offer alternative futures? Images of utopia
  • Marx, Engels and the problems of capitalism and Marxist alternatives
  • Durkheim alienation and the new moral order
  • Edward Said and Postcolonialism
  • George H. Mead, Karl Mannheim and democracy
  • Feminism, wages for housework and anti-pornography
  • Daniel Bell and the information society
  • Postcapitalism, basic income, technology and workless society
  • Burawoy and public sociology

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

Students will be required to give a short presentation in class and will receive feedback on the substance of their argument and their presentation skills. Assessment will be one 4,000 essay which can be the same topic they presented in class or a new one chosen from a list of questions.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback at University level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme by providing commentary on your work to date. So feedback means more than just written comments on written work. We aim to help you to reflect on your own learning and to feel clearer about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you informative and summative assessments. The University guidelines for feedback are available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

 

You will receive feedback in a number of forms:

  • On any formative (non-assessed) work, you will receive written or verbal feedback about how to improve your work (though you may not receive a mark)

  • On summative work (work that is assessed) you will receive detailed written feedback from the marker. This is intended to show areas in which you have done well, and areas in which you need to improve.

  • Your supervisor will also give you feedback on your work. S/he will be able to look across a range of your work and discuss ways in which you can build on your strengths and improve in any areas

 

Feedback on your summative written work is made available to you online via e:vision. You will receive an email telling you when it is ready to look at. You are then advised to take this work (printed out or on your laptop) to your regular meeting with your academic supervisor. Your supervisor will be able to look at your work with you and address any queries you have, as well as advise you on ways to improve your work.

 

Feedback on Exam Scripts

 

You can ask for feedback on your exam performance from your supervisor, who will go through your examination script(s) with you and discuss the areas in which you did well, and those in which you need to improve. However, you may not take the script away with you, or photocopy the script. If you would like to discuss your exam performance, please let your supervisor know at least two working days in advance of your meeting, so that they can make sure they have the script with them when you meet.

Key texts

Bregman, R. (2016) Utopia for Realists, The Correspondent.

Dawson, M. (2016) Social Theory for Alternative Societies, London:Palgrave

Du Bois, W.E.B. (1986) W.E.B. Bois Writings, New York: The Library of America

Durkheim, E. (2009) ‘The Politics of the Future’, Durkheimian Studies15, 3-6.

Giddens, A. ((1994) Beyond Left and Right: the future of radical politics, Cambridge: Polity

Levitas, R. (2013) Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstruction of Society, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

Mason, P. (2015) Postcapitalism: A guide to the future, Penguin.

Marx, K. and Engels, F. (1992) The Communist Manifesto, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Marx, K and Engels, F. The German Ideology

Srnicek, N. and Williams, A. (2015) Inventing the Future: postcapitalism and the world of work, London: Verso



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.