Module Catalogue 2019/20

SOC1032 : Politics and Society

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Pauline McCormack
  • 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 center 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 be affect its social context as well as with how it can be affected by it. The module will focus on six areas of social and political development that political sociologists and political scientists have long sought to explain: 1) power; 2) the nation-state; 3) the market; 4) democracy; 5) citizenship; and 6) 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; Brexit and national and postnational models of citizenship; austerity and anti-austerity 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 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 completion1100:00100:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading88:0064:008 hours preparation for each seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:008 seminar groups of 15 each
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00Assessment preparation/feedback sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00Film showing
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

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

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50Seen Exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A502000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The combination of an essay and seen final exam will give students a wide ranging opportunity to broaden their critical understanding of political sociology.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 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 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.