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SOC1030 : The Sociological Imagination: An Introduction to the Discipline

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Clare Fearon
  • Lecturer: Dr Jacqui Close
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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 two 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 module will also 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. The second 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. We will also interweave the study of these concepts and dimensions with an examination of crucial social institutions that organize social life such as education, the media, social movements, and emerging platforms that are becoming institutionalized such as social media and the internet.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials21:002:00Pre-recorded lecture materials non timetabled.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00PIP timetabled Lectures
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities41:004:00Online supported learning material (not timetabled)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00PIP timetabled Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00PIP timetabled workshops to support assessments
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1133:00133:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time11:001:00Q & A online timetabled session
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

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M401500 words
Case study1M602000 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 be given the opportunity to explore an area of their choice or choose from a range of topics.

Reading Lists