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SOC1032 : Politics and Society

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Silvia Pasquetti
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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.

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.

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.

Reading Lists