Fundamentals of Sociology - SO337

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn 4 15 (7.5) PROF A Burgess checkmark-circle


Sociology is the study of human societies. It is a discipline committed to the attempt to map out and explain the constitution of society. It also aims to attend to and explain the distinctive character of people's social experience of the world. Sociologists operate from the premise that, by working to explain human characteristics and behaviours in social terms and as relative products of society, they stand to offer insights into some of the major forces that determine our thoughts and behaviours. They work under the conviction that human beings are fundamentally social beings and are products of distinct forms of society. This course is designed to provide you with a basic introduction to Sociology. A particular focus is brought to how sociologists venture to understand the social structures and determinant social forces that shape our living conditions and life chances. It also outlines some of the ways in which such matters are addressed as problems for sociological theory and empirical sociological research.

The curriculum will include topics such as:
What is Sociology?
Theories and Theorizing
Methods and Research
Cities and Communities
The State, Social Policy and Control
Work, Employment and Leisure
Inequality, Poverty and Wealth
Stratification, Class and Status


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Contact hours: 22. Private study hours: 128
This module's teaching is based upon weekly lectures and seminars. .

Students will have research and other skills session in the library during which they will learn more advanced skills in finding and understanding social science sources. This session is compulsory and will take place in one of the for-mentioned seminar contact hours.

Method of assessment

One 1,500 word essay (30% of final grade), one 2,500 word essay (50% of final grade). The final 20% of the grade will be awarded based on seminar attendance and participation.

Indicative reading

Macionis, J. and Plummer, K. (2012) Sociology: A Global Introduction, 5th edition. London: Pearson.
Fulcher, J. and Scott, J. (2011) Sociology, 4th edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Giddens, A. and Sutton, P. (2017) Sociology, 8th edition, Oxford: Polity.
Punch, S., Harden, J., Marsh, I. and Keating, M. (2013) Sociology: Making Sense of Society, London: Pearson.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Understand different theoretical perspectives in sociology..
Understand competing sociological arguments..
Understand the importance and use of empirical evidence used in sociology, including quantitative and qualitative evidence..
Understand more abstract social processes and institutions.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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