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Gain an in-depth understanding of the latest issues and debates in sociology. Hone your research skills, and develop expertise that will prepare you for a career in social policy, social work, local government, public service and more.
- Develop research skills for careers in social policy, social work, local government and public service
- Explore specialist areas such as modern crime control, nationalism or nature and society on our optional modules
- Get support from research-active staff with interests that reflect the latest developments in sociology
- Attend and contribute to research events such as seminars, symposia and conferences
Our Master’s course will help deepen your knowledge of the theoretical and substantive aspects of contemporary sociology. You’ll develop expertise in the principles and application of social research methodology, and examine key debates and issues like progress and reason, genetic structuralism and the role of modernity.
Our optional modules will also let you explore more specialist areas such as modern crime control, nationalism or nature and society.
All your studies will be supported by our research-active staff, whose interests reflect the latest developments in sociology. Our staff and their areas of expertise are:
- Course Leader: Dr Mirna Guha: gendered inequalities; intersectional feminism; ‚race’, identity, and social relations; gender-based violence; sex work; social justice
- Dr Liz Bradbury : social theory; gender studies; psychoanalysis; the Frankfurt School
- Dr David Skinner: race and racism, the social and political aspects of scientific and technological innovation; the relationship between the natural and social sciences; forensics, databases and surveillance; the changing management of public services
- Dr James Rosbrook-Thompson: ‚race’ and ethnicity; urban sociology; delinquency and disorder; the sociology of sport; and cosmopolitanism and notions of belonging.
To support your learning, we run a research seminar series and frequent symposia and conferences. All our students are welcome to attend and contribute.
This course will prepare you for work in many fields, including human resources, social policy, social work, educational development, community development, counselling, local government, the civil service, public services and charities.
Or you might decide to continue on to a research degree, like our PhD Sociology.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Contemporary Social TheoryYour focus in this module will be on two key debates in social theory. The first is the structure-agency debate which asks whether social action exists merely as (the often complex) activities of individuals or it exists sui generis, as a product of social structure and an object in its own right. You will look at four different attempts to reconcile the debate: Anthony Giddens’s structuration theory; Pierre Bourdieu’s genetic structuralism; the critical realisms of Roy Bhaskar and Margaret Archer; and the neopragmatisms of Richard Rorty and Patrick Baert. Your second focus of attention is the debate over the role of modernity and its ideals of progress and reason, starting with the Frankfurt School and looking at post-modern social theory as well as ‘late’ modernity and concepts like Ulrich Beck’s risk society thesis; Anthony Giddens’s ‚reflexive individual’; or Zygmunt Bauman’s ‚liquid modernity.’ Your assessment for this module will be the submission of two 3,500 words essays.
Postgraduate Research MethodsThis module will provide you with the research skills and techniques needed both to critically evaluate the literature you will be using in your Masters course, and to put into practice in your own Dissertation. It will explore the methodologies and methods applied in contemporary social science research to enable you to select an appropriate range for your own needs.
Major ProjectThis module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation, allowing you to explore in-depth a particular topic that reflects your academic interest.
Nationalisms, Diasporas and IdentitiesYou will explore notions of identity related to belonging, rootedness and mobility, examining key concepts such as nationalism, transnationalism, diaspora and migration. Particular attention will be paid to intersections with gender, class and ethnicity. You will investigate the notion of ‚home’ at different spatial scales, while concepts of hybridity will also be examined, especially the growing importance of multi-generational diasporic communities. Your key focus of interest will be second-generation identities. You will draw on detailed case studies in order to ground these concepts and identify their specificities. You will be encouraged to develop case studies informed by your own backgrounds and localities. Your analyses of comparative diasporic and transnational experiences will be developed and interdisciplinarity will also be encouraged. Your assessment will have two elements based on an individually-selected case study: a presentation and a 5,500 word report.
Globalisation, Social Welfare & Social PolicyThis module considers the relationship between globalisation and social welfare and policy at a micro, mezzo and macro level. It considers how globalisation impacts on social welfare provision and policy planning in different countries and societal contexts, from a political, social, economic, technological and educational viewpoint. We will evaluate and critically analyse whether there are universal values and a universal knowledge base which can be relied upon to provide a response towards overcoming global problems, or whether they are, or need to be, culturally and locally specific. This module also looks at how individuals, social networks and organisations deal with providing support for those in greatest need and how this can be translated to work within an international arena from both a statutory and voluntary/non-governmental organisation perspective. Finally, we will consider the role of the social welfare and social policy worker within a globalised world, and critically debate universal standards of practice and transferable skills and adaptation.
Depending on the module, you’ll show your progress through a combination of essays, presentations, case studies and portfolio work, as well as a Major Project at the end of the course.