Skip to main content

Module

SOC1030 : The Sociological Imagination: An Introduction to the Discipline

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Clare Fearon
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The main aim is to introduce students to the subject of Sociology – combining the study of its theoretical, substantive and empirical aspects, to develop an awareness of its relevance for contemporary social life and within the social sciences. This involves students encountering the foundations of sociology (theories, processes and structures), its key concepts, and their application to the study of social institutions and social divisions.
We will explore questions like: what are the differences between the micro and the macro levels of social life? What are the distinctions between the public and the private, and how do they blur into each other? What does it mean to say that an approach is taking an essentialist view or a social constructed one? What are the implications of believing that social structures do not allow individuals to decide what they can do and achieve? How do norms, regulations, networks and social relations organize social order or spark conflict in contemporary societies? What is ‘everyday life’ and common sense understanding?
The Sociological Imagination module interweaves the study of concepts with an examination of crucial social institutions that organize social life. On a broader level, the module is also intended to help students enlarge their awareness of everyday life and enable them to develop a critical understanding of contemporary social issues and problems.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is divided into three main parts: The first part of the module will introduce students to the discipline of Sociology by highlighting its relevance to twenty-first century societies. We will discuss what Sociology is and what sociologists do; the history and development of the discipline and its key figures; the importance of developing a sociological imagination, and the debates around the role of Sociology in the contemporary world.
The second part of the module will explore key sociological concepts alongside sociological institutions. In laying out the core issues for understanding the social, we will explore and critique a variety of dichotomies that have been at the centre of sociological thinking such as macro/micro, public/private, essentialism/constructivism, structure/agency and order/conflict; and other concepts such as everyday life, order, networks. We will interweave the study of these concepts with an examination of crucial social institutions that organize social life such as education, work, the family, the media, religion, social movements, and emerging platforms that are becoming institutionalized such as social media and the internet.
The third and final part of the module will explore theoretical and conceptual issues through a focus on the notions of power and social divisions. Here, we will introduce crucial dimensions that organize, divide and structure social life, such as gender, class and race, illustrating them with empirical examples.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials92:0018:00Non-synchronous lecture
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1116:00116:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities92:0018:00Non-Synchronous, non-timetabled remote delivery
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Synchronous, timetabled on-line delivery (small group practicals)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops91:009:00Synchronous, timetabled on-line delivery ( Skills based Q&A)
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce students to substantive issues, theoretical perspectives, and empirical evidence. They provide the narrative thread around which students’ own reading should take place. Seminars and workshops will encourage students to explore their developing understanding of the discipline of Sociology, and to discuss how this understanding might be applied to analyses of specific cases and examples. Two workshops are designed to enable students to prepare for the module assessment through group work and discussion. Lecture time is also used to give general feedback on assessments.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502,000 words
Case study1M50Essay 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay assignment is particularly connected to the learning outcomes associated with developing knowledge about theoretical perspectives and key concepts/concerns in Sociology. In terms of skills, it will also aid the development of critical thinking, exploring a topic in some depth by requiring the students to read around the topic as well as draw from and organize resources to develop an argument. The essay will also help enhance students’ writing skills. The case study will further enhance student’s critical writing skills by enabling them to take a substantive topical issue and apply a Sociological eye. Students will choose from a range of issues but also be given the opportunity to explore an area of their choice (needing approval from Module leader).

Reading Lists

Timetable