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Foundations in Social Science and Social Theory (Module)

Module description

This module will introduce students to some of the foundational texts of social science and social theory. We will explore key discussions, debates, and concepts that have been crucial for the social sciences in the classical and contemporary eras. We will also examine how social science ideas have changed over time, in relation to socio-economic and historical developments (such as the Enlightenment, colonialism and post-colonialism, and globalization). Students will be encouraged to think about the ways that different theoretical approaches connect—or fail to connect—with their everyday lives, and will be required to draw upon their own experiences and situations to critically engage with readings.

*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.


  • To introduce students to some of the foundational texts of social science;
  • To familiarise students with key discussions and debates that have shaped social science research;
  • To provide students with the skills to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of key concepts;
  • To provide students with the ability and practical skills to contextualize concepts historically; and
  • To provide students with the skills to reflect on the role that theoretical reflection plays in social science research.

By the end of this module students are expected to have acquired:

  • An understanding of concepts such as “modernity,” “society,” “culture,” “power,” and “gender”;
  • An understanding of the crucial role of theoretical reflection in social science research;
  • An ability to critically evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of concepts in the context of broader debates about liberalism, colonialism, capitalism, and globalization;
  • Practical skills to contextualize concepts historically; and
  • An awareness of the need to use concepts in social science research.

Staff information

Sam Mclean

Teaching pattern

Weekly 'lectorials' (hybrid of lectures and tutorial style discussions)

Module assessment - more information

1 x 15-minute group presentation (20%)
1 x 1.5 hour unseen multiple choice and short answer exam (25%)
1 x 3,000 word written assingment (55%)

Key information

Module code 4SSHM007

Credit level 4

Assessment coursework presentation/s written examination/s

Credit value 30

Semester Full-year

Study abroad module No