MA Political Science - Political Theory Pathway (Standard Route) / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Social Theory: Structure, Relations and Interaction (SRI)

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOCY60332
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Sociological research is underpinned by theoretical concepts and understanding. In most cases, however, opinion isn't settled and issues remain open to debate and disagreement. In this course we examine a number of these concepts and debates, and you get a chance to decide for yourselves where you stand in relation to them. This will involve some discussion of the ideas and arguments of a number of key theorists but the focus is very much upon debates and ideas rather than thinkers.Thinkers are of importance insofar as they make a contribution to a debate, and it is their contribution that we are interested in. Amongst other topics we will engage with debates concerning agency, social structure and social systems. The purpose of doing this is to enable you to engage with sociology in a more analytical, critical and theoretically-informed way.  


  • To encourage reflection upon some of the key theoretical questions posed by the sociological study of society.  
  • To introduce and invite discussion of a number of key debates and concepts in contemporary sociological theory.  
  • To introduce the work of a number of sociological theorists and philosophers by way of a consideration of their contribution to the abovementioned debates.  
  • To cultivate a questioning attitude towards sociology and its assumptions.  
  • To provide a context in which students can develop their capacities for formulating, understanding, evaluating and expressing sociological arguments.  

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course students will have:  

  • A greater understanding of the theoretical issues and problems posed by the study of society.  
  • A greater knowledge of key themes, thinkers and debates in contemporary sociological theory.  
  • A greater ability to engage critically with sociological theory and the issues it engages with.  
  • A greater ability to argue sociologically and develop their own ideas regarding key issues.  

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly lectures and tutorials.

Assessment methods

3,000 word assessed essay (100%)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nick Crossley Unit coordinator

Additional notes




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