Module Catalogue 2021/22

SOC1032 : Politics and Society

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Pauline McCormack
  • Lecturer: Dr Emma Clavering
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module is designed to introduce students to the reciprocal influence between political and social life, which is in fact one of the most celebrated sub-fields within the Sociology discipline. How do we conceive of social and political power? To what extent do political institutions and practices shape the nature and boundaries of civil society and social life, and conversely how do social relations (broadly defined to encompass cultural, economic and associational relations) influence political decision making? The module will be explicitly comparative-historical in scope and political in its critical reflection on issues that are at the very centre of political debate and social mobilization in the contemporary era.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module examines the interaction between political and social factors. It is concerned with how politics can affect its social context as well as with how it can be affected by it. The module will focus on four key interrelated areas of social and political development that political sociologists and political scientists have long sought to explain: 1) power and the nation-state; 2) democracy; 3) citizenship and the market; and, 4) social movements. For each of these key areas in the study of politics and society we will discuss seminal arguments and consider comparative, empirical and historical evidence. We will also situate these arguments and evidence in the context of recent developments in the UK and the broader world such as the rise and “fall” of globalization, the revival of nationalism; national and post-national models of citizenship; anti-establishment social movements. By offering an overview of arguments and debates about topical issues in politics and society, the module will expose students to the analytical power of a sociological approach to politics.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to: have a critical understanding of the functioning of social and political domains and how these are reciprocally connected. They will be able to understand the key issues at the heart of political sociology such as power, democracy, political participation, social movements and the like.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to: improve their critical thinking; enhance their essay writing skills; be able to read, discuss and apply social and political theory to empirical cases; and, develop a wider reservoir of knowledge of crucial issues that are central to contemporary political debate.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials92:0018:00Non synchronous remote delivery
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities92:0018:00Non-Synchronous, non-timetabled remote delivery
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1116:00116:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Timetabled PiP (small group practicals)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops91:009:00Timetabled PiP (Skills based Q&A)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The combination of lectures, workshops and seminars is suitable to offering an in-depth understanding of the topics covered in the module. The lecture materials will introduce students to key theoretical approaches, public debates and empirical studies. These will be explored and discussed in more detail in the workshops and student-led seminars. Seminars are designed to provide students with structured tasks and readings. There will be assignment workshops in which students can explore the key features of the assessment requirements and raise questions and concerns as appropriate. There will be a film series to further stimulate students to critically think about and discuss topical issues in the study of politics and society. A lecture/feedback session will enable students to get detailed feedback on assignments.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502000 words
Case study2M50Essay format 2000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Case study2MOne-page essay plan
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The combination of an essay and case study will give students a wide-ranging opportunity to broaden their critical understanding of political sociology, and apply theory in practice.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2021/22 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2022/23 entry will be published here in early-April 2022. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.