BSocSc Sociology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Politics, Power and Everyday Life

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOCY20311
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Precise content of the course will be reviewed regularly, but you'll get a good sense of topic coverage from a recent list of lecture titles:  

1.Politics and the Sociological Imagination

2. Power and Transformation

3. State Making as Organised Crime: Formation of States, Empires, Nation-states

4. Regimes and Revolutions

5. Democracy in Crisis? Civil Society, Citizenship, Voting

6. Rethinking the State: Legitimation, Practices, Transnationalism

7.Social Movements and Social Change

8. Resistance and the Politics of the Everyday

9. ‘Another World is Possible’: Grassroots Initiatives and Real Utopias

10. Power and Politics in the 21st Century: Zooming Out and Looking Forward


This course examines political processes, practices and structures sociologically. It aims to equip students with an understanding of core concepts and themes around power, the state, citizenship, identity politics, social movements, revolution and transnational politics. It aims to introduce a set of live and controversial debates in the area, including critiques of mainstream political sociology from postcolonial perspectives; evaluations of 'everyday' and 'lifestyle' politics and their consequences; and the contemporary significance of the state in a context of new nationalisms, migration 'crises' and global environmental change. Throughout, the course aims to develop students' capacities for critical thinking and synthesis, particularly through the application of theoretical insights about the nature of political institutions with experiences and interactions in everyday life. 

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly 2 hour lecture and weekly 1 hour tutorial.  

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of the course students will be expected to  

• Identify and critically evaluate changing forms of political participation, particularly everyday forms of participation  

• Make sense of the changing roles of contemporary political structures, e.g. the state, and describe the social relations in these areas  

• Contextualise these areas in a range of theoretical approaches, and with respect to everyday life  

• Understand and contrast different perspectives on power and resistance  

Intellectual skills

• Evaluate competing analytical perspectives  

• Assess the strengths and weaknesses of empirical evidence  

• Develop a critical approach to academic texts.  

Practical skills

• Use library and electronic sources and resources  

• Undertake and present independent research  

Transferable skills and personal qualities

• Present ideas and ask questions in group discussion  

• Work with others to develop ideas and present them  

Assessment methods

Non-assessed: mid-term coursework - reflective journal (2x 250 words, two different topics) 

Assessed: two-part written assessment on different topics (100%) 

The written assessment, to be submitted at the same time, will consists of: 

Part 1 - Reflective journal (500 words, 20%) 

Part 2 - Essay (1500 words, 80%).  

This two-part assessment will be given a single mark, accounting for 100% of the grade.  

Feedback methods

All sociology courses include both formative feedback - which lets you know how you're getting on and what you could do to improve - and summative feedback - which gives you a mark for your assessed work. In this course you will receive feedback on a non-assessed assignment and your coursework essay, as well as general verbal feedback throughout the course in tutorials and lectures.  

Recommended reading

Clemens, E. (2016) What is Political Sociology? Cambridge: Polity  

Drake, M. (2010) Political Sociology for a Globalizing World. Cambridge: Polity  

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Luke Yates Unit coordinator

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