Sociology and Politics - BA (Hons)

Are you curious about how societies work, develop and transform? Do you follow current affairs and political events? You can pursue these interests further on our Sociology and Politics joint honours programme.

Overview

The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research offers a large choice of specialist modules on race, social change, criminal justice, disability and the arts. Our academics are internationally recognised for their expertise in sociological theory and their varied research gives you the opportunity to study diverse areas ranging from street culture to terrorism.

Our modules and creative forms of assessment are designed to stimulate your thinking and prepare you for a job market looking for versatile and innovative individuals.

Politics at Kent encourages you to think critically about political events, ideas and institutions while engaging with the key issues of today.

Our degree programme

In your first year, you study the fundamentals of sociology and political science. You learn how to conduct and apply qualitative and quantitative sociological research and are introduced to empirical research methods for political science.

During all stages of your studies, you have the opportunity to choose specialist modules that suit your interests and include topics like international conflict and cooperation, conservatism, gender, political change, crime, race, violence and work.

In your final year of study, there is an option to take a dissertation module on a subject of your choice. This allows you to focus in detail on an area you are particularly passionate about.

Study resources

You have access to a wide range of topical journals and books in hard copy and digital format through Kent’s Templeman Library. You can also view content from the European Documentation Centre, a useful resource for studying European politics and policy.

Your designated academic advisor provides guidance for your studies and academic development. Our Student Learning Advisory Service offers useful workshops on topics like essay writing and academic referencing.

Extra activities

There are a number of student-led societies which you may want to join such as:

  • Socrates Society
  • Feminist Society
  • Kent Amnesty International
  • Politics and International Relations Society.

There are events available throughout the year for students from the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. These may include:

  • research seminars and webcasts
  • career development workshops
  • informal lectures by guest experts followed by group discussion.

You are also encouraged to get involved in the programme of events and activities run by the School of Politics and International Relations, which focuses on bridging the gap between academic study and real-life politics.

Entry requirements

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit in Health and Social Care or Public Services.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 points at HL

  • International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

Form

Stay connected

Sign up here to receive all the latest news and events from Kent.  

Sign up now

This field is required
This field is required
Please enter a valid email address
This field is required

You're almost there...

Just a little more information and we'll keep you up-to-date with everything that's happening at the University of Kent.

This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required

View our Privacy Notice

Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

This module introduces students to the empirical study of the key structures, institutions, processes, outcomes and behaviour in political systems. It familiarises students with both the content and shape of political life and how academic scholars study it. But it also introduces the data, methods and techniques that allow students to study it themselves. Students learn about political life by learning how to do basic political research.

Find out more about PO335

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the ways sociologists attempt to document and explain the social experience of everyday life. Each week the category of 'social experience' is held up for analytical scrutiny in relation to a particular component of 'everyday life'. The course aims to illustrate the value of sociology for helping individuals to better understand the contents and conditions of their social experience of the world. It also aims to document the ways in which sociological theories and methods have developed in correspondence with the evolution of modern societies. The curriculum will include topics such as: Sex, Gender and Sexuality, Racial and Ethnic Identities, Risk and Society, Crime and Deviance, Health, Media, Religion or Family.

Find out more about SO336

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

Globalization

Work, Employment and Leisure

Inequality, Poverty and Wealth

Stratification, Class and Status

Find out more about SO337

This module provides an introduction to the major issues and controversies surrounding the definition, development and teaching of ‘classical’ social theory. It introduces students to the key problems that have set the agendas for sociological inquiry as well as the main concepts and theoretical traditions that have shaped sociological thought. A considerable debate surrounds the meaning of ‘classical’ social theory and what should be associated with this term. For some, ‘classical’ social theory refers to ideas developed by a generation of thinkers whose works belong to a particular period of our cultural/intellectual history (usually dated c.1880- c.1920). Others understand this as a label for ‘canonical’ texts that define the project and enterprise of sociology. For many, it simply means the works of Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim, Max Weber and Georg Simmel (the so-called ‘founding fathers’ of the discipline). Classical sociology has also been identified as a critical tradition of placing society in question so as individuals may be better equipped to understand how their personal troubles are the product of determining socio-economic structures and processes. Each of these approaches to understanding ‘classical’ social theory will be explored and analysed.

Find out more about SO408

Optional modules may include

Crime is a major social and political issue and the source of much academic and popular debate. Key criminological issues will be examined during the course of the module within their wider sociological and social policy context. There will be a particular focus on understanding the nature and extent of crime and victimisation, analysing public and media perceptions of crime, and exploring the relationship between key social divisions (age, gender and ethnicity) and patterns of offending and victimisation

Find out more about SO305

This module introduces students to discussions and debates surrounding modern culture. It looks at why culture has always been such a contested sphere and has a decisive impact on society at large. Students will look at culture in the widest sense, ranging from ‘the arts’ to the banalities of everyday life in our consumer society; at how culture has expressed and organised the way people think and live from the days of 'protestantism' to those of post-punk. Books, magazines, radio, TV, movies, cartoons, fashion, graffiti, the cult of celebrity, youth subcultures and pop music will be used to understand class, history, sexuality, colonialism, revolution, conflict and globalisation.

Find out more about SO334

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

The study of social and political phenomena is a vast endeavour and this class will serve as an introduction to methods for social science research. It provides a basic, non-technical introduction to the use of quantitative methods in the political sciences for students from a variety of educational backgrounds (including those with very limited knowledge of mathematical terminology and notation). The progression of this course will address scientific research design and methodology and consider many examples of such research In short, it seeks to enable students to read, interpret, and critically assess arguments drawing on quantitative methods in Politics and International Relations. Students with some prior exposure to quantitative methods will have the opportunity to improve their command of statistical software as well as apply their general statistical skills to data sets commonly found in policy and academic work.

Find out more about PO687

This course builds on students' knowledge of the approaches and methods used in the study of politics and international relations introduced in the first year of the degree program and the foundation in the analysis of quantitative data established in the second year. Students will be asked to consider the nature and purposes of descriptive and causal analysis in politics and international relations. Students will develop skills in choosing, using and evaluating the research designs, and techniques for the collection and analyses of data used by researchers in these fields. Emphasis in the course will be placed on a mixed methods approach to political analysis that enables student to integrate, analyse and evaluate both qualitative and quantitative data. In addition to developing a conceptual and theoretical understanding of different approaches to evidence gathering and analyses and how they can be combined, students will also have the opportunity to extend their skills in practical data analyses.

Find out more about PO661

This module provides an introduction to the major issues and controversies that have shaped key developments in contemporary social theory. It surveys the development of social theory through the second half of the twentieth century and up to the present day. Following on from the SO408 module on ‘classical’ social theory, it questions the distinction between the ‘classical’ and the ‘contemporary’ so as to highlight the intellectual decisions, values and problems involved in the packaging of social theory under these terms. It also provides critical introductions to the following theorists and issues: Talcott Parsons and his legacy; Symbolic Interactionism up to Goffman and beyond; The Frankfurt School: Critical theory and the crisis of western marxism; Jurgen Habermas and the decline of the public sphere; Michel Foucault and a his understanding of ‘power’; Pierre Bourdieu and the reproduction of inequality; From Modernity to Post-modernity?; The feminizing of social theory; Globalization, networks and mobilities; New challenges for the twenty-first century.

Find out more about SO727

Optional modules may include

This module aims to develop a critical understanding of one of the most important intellectual and political issues of our times, namely, 'globalization' and global social change. In so doing, this module poses a number of key questions: what is globalization, and what forms does it take? How does globalization reconstitute our relationship to society? How is globalization experienced across the world, and what power relations does it create? This module presents contemporary modes and challenges of doing sociology in an increasingly complex and interdependent world. Students will critically evaluate contending theories of globalization, and explore key topical debates in global issues, including the impact of global economic treaties on poverty, trade, and urban growth in the Global South; the flows, opportunities, and conflicts in the creation of global culture, and resistance to global forces and power relations in the form of anti-globalization movements.

Find out more about SO684

This module will be divided into three parts: the first will offer an analysis of current and potential methods of drug control; the second will explore cultural contexts of illicit drug use within modern society; the third will consider and evaluate practical issues facing drug policy makers of today. Each will be considered in a global context. Particular emphasis will be placed on theoretical arguments underpinning the major debates in this field and up-to-date research will be drawn upon throughout.

Find out more about SO689

This course will introduce students to the sociological analysis of prisons and penal policy. The module is organised around the general theme of a discussion of current debates in the criminology and sociology drawing on both theoretical and empirical research. More specific themes covered will include:

- The historical development of imprisonment

- An investigation of the growing 'crisis' of imprisonment

- An examination of the reasons for the growth of imprisonment in both the UK and America

- The imprisonment of women and ethnic minority groups.

- An exploration of issues impacting on the experience of imprisonment

- A discussion on the future of imprisonment

Find out more about SO711

The course discusses the main approaches which have developed in urban sociology through an exploration of some of the major themes. These themes include urbanisation under capitalism, planning, post-industrialism, globalisation, social differentiation, multiculturalism, protest and social movements, and comparative urbanism (Asian and African contexts). Approaches considered within these will include Marx, Weber, the Chicago School, the Manchester school, and post-modernism.

Find out more about SO712

This module is designed as an exploration of both the social history and historiography of 'the Enlightenment'. It draws a focus to the legacy of Enlightenment in contemporary sociological theory. It explores the bearing of Enlightenment ideas and interests upon the intellectual and political cultures of western modernity. It introduces students to ongoing debates concerned with the legacy of the Enlightenment in twenty-first century society. In this context, it explores the influence of the Enlightenment and its cultural portrayal in contemporary sociology in current disputes concerned with the legacy of colonialism, the gendering of the public sphere, the fate of religion and religious culture through modern times, the cultivation of our social and political democracy and the 'tragic' fate of modern rationality.

Find out more about SO764

This module introduces and applies ideas in critical, cultural and communications theory to debates and issues surrounding media and popular culture, focusing on such themes as cultural elitism, power and control, the formation of identities, the politics of representation, and the cultural circuit of production and consumption. It investigates the relationship between the development of contemporary society and societal values and the changing technological basis of mediated culture.

Find out more about SO750

This module aims to develop a critical understanding of one of the most timely and pressing issues of recent times, namely, migration, and its relationship to politics of identities, belonging and citizenship in global societies. It aims to introduce students to key themes and issues related to the social experience of migration in a diversity of contexts. Over the course of the term, we will debate and critically explore the ways in which migrants, refugees and diaspora communities shape their societies of settlement and origin and how they have become key actors of a process of 'globalisation from below' at different social and spatial scales. We will critically discuss key concepts and theories deployed to analyse contemporary processes of migration, transnationalism and diaspora and assess their relevance across a wide range of migration case studies. Examples of the central questions this module will address are: what are the main drivers of contemporary migration? To what extent can migrants become transnational citizens? What is the link between migration and homeland development in third world countries? How are gender, class and race relations affected by migration?

Find out more about SO755

PO686 explores the political biographies of three icons of 20th and 21st century politics: Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi. All three have arguably changed the course of history not just in their home countries, and we will be studying how their lives brought them to the forefront of the historical struggles which they came to represent. In particular, we will be looking at how they came to make the personal commitment to engage in these struggles and how they came to accept and deal with the sacrifices that their involvement entailed. We will be particularly interested in the self-understanding of these figures as political actors. Did they intend or plan to have the impact they had? Or did political fame catch them by surprise? Did they understand themselves as political leaders, and if yes, what notions of leadership did they develop as part of their political struggles? How did they understand the resistance they offered to colonial oppression, racial discrimination and oppressive military regimes? What were the philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of their resistance? What influenced them to offer this resistance? How did they reflect on their acts of resistance? What gave them the courage they needed in order to offer this resistance? And what were their methods? Were the means of their struggles appropriate for achieving their ends? What was the role of violence in these methods?

Apart from asking questions about their political lives and the impact these lives had on world history, we will also be able to ask more general questions about political reality itself: Can individuals really affect the course of national and world history? What enabled these figures to have such an impact? Personality? Charisma? Luck? Or were the circumstances such that anyone in similar positions could have provoked change? In fact, how did these figures relate to the world of politics? For example, was Gandhi a 'politician'? Did they have the impact they had because they stood in some sense ‘outside’ conventional politics? And also what does it say about us, about our political present, if we today revere these figures as icons of righteous resistance? Why is there a Nelson Mandela building on Campus? Why is his picture in the Rutherford Dining Hall? What is it that we admire in Mandela? And is the fact that Aung San Suu Kyi failed to live up to our expectations enough to justify her recent fall from grace? These are just some examples of the kinds of questions we will discuss in PO686.

Find out more about PO686

In this module you will begin to understand the process and debates surrounding how researchers learn more about the social world. What techniques and approaches do social researchers draw upon to organise, structure and interpret research evidence? How do we judge the quality of research? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the range of frameworks and methodologies? The first part of the module introduces you to the conceptual issues and debates around the ‘best’ way to explore social questions, forms and issues, and an overview of some popular methods for doing so. In the Spring Term, you will spend most of your time applying what you have learned in a group research project and an individual research design project.

Find out more about SO602

'This module provides an analysis of health policy primarily focusing on recent policy changes in the UK and identifying the major influences which have shaped these policies. There have been considerable changes in health service policy and public health policy in the UK over the last two decades involving changes to existing policies and the development of new policy themes. The latter have included the rise and fall of policies aimed at social inequalities and the decline in life expectancy in some areas; the increasing emphasis on 'nudging' lifestyle change and on wellbeing in public health policy; a continued focus on the views and/or the voice of the user and the public and increasing emphasis on democratizing the health service and co-production; the re-emergence of the importance of environmental health policy; the marketisation and privatisation of health care in the context of a reduction in public funding; the introduction of managerialism and the attempts to regulate the medical profession and the effectiveness of priority setting agencies such as NICE with their emphasis on evidence based decision making This module is theoretically informed and the approach taken lays emphasis on the interplay of powerful structural interests such as the influence of professional medicine and other occupational groups, the media (including the social media), the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, commercial health care companies, the State and the socio-political values associated with the government in power, patient’s groups, the third sector and the wider global environment.'

Find out more about SO603

This module combines theoretical and methodological approaches from sociology, cultural and media studies, history and literature to examine how our understandings of the past, present and future are formed, framed, mediated and remediated in a variety of social, cultural and political contexts. It aims to introduce students to key themes and issues related to the social experience of time. It will encourage them to reflect on how this experience informs our approaches to social problems, relationships of power and inequality, and the formation of collective identities. Over the course of the term, we will debate and critically explore the roles of heritage, nostalgia, the imagination, narrative and imagery at the heart of both processes of social change and cultural continuity. We will question what it is that forms the constitutive narrative of a cultural identity, its foundations, expression and trajectory. We will also examine the material and symbolic construction of social groups such as generations, classes and communities.

Find out more about SO621

This module critically examines the historical role that animals have played in the making of modern society and the current nature of human/nonhuman relations in contemporary cultures. Students will also be introduced to intersections of race/class/gender and species. The final part of the course considers collective action and social policy as it relates to past and present efforts to challenge problematic aspects of human/nonhuman relations.

Find out more about SO626

This module aims to get students to think about their place in their social worlds, and in particular the importance of our ethnic and racial backgrounds and identities in shaping this sense of belonging. What is the nature of ethnic ties and membership? How do understanding of ethnic group identity and membership influence our interactions with one another, and structure our opportunities in the wider society? How do our ethnic backgrounds intersect with our gender, religion, and sexuality? These issues are now critical in multi-ethnic societies such as Britain, where our use of ethnic categories and terms are central to societal organization and function, whether in the census or in everyday interactions. But given the dizzying speed with which our societies are become super-diverse, via various forms of migration, and interracial and interethnic unions, the terms and categories we use are much less 'obvious' than they may have been in the past. Membership in ethnic groups themselves is now increasingly contested, and we also question what we mean by terms such as ‘minority’ or ‘BME’

Find out more about SO6012

The course aims to develop an empirically grounded and theoretically engaged understanding of how social experience from the Global South informs, corrects and extends contemporary sociological theorisation and norms of sociological investigation. The module consists of three parts: 1) By putting the Global South and its power struggle in historical context, the module starts with critical examination on the blind spots of our presumed 'global' or 'cosmopolitan' social outlook. It problematises the once taken-for-granted universality of Eurocentric norms and discusses what good social research should look like. It also provides in-depth critique on the socio-political limitations of alternative theorisation from the Global South. 2) After establishing a solid historical and conceptual understanding of key debates, this module uses region-specific lectures (e.g. China, India and Africa) to deepen understanding on the Global South’s views on universality and difference, resistance and subversion, national and transnational solidarities. 3) This module concludes with methodological and conceptual reflections on mainstream sociology

Find out more about SO627

The module provides an overview of the contribution of the third sector to social, economic and political life. It includes analysis of definitions and categorisations, exploration of the theories which underpin the study of the third sector, an examination of theories and the current state of volunteering and charitable giving, examination of the historical and current public policy agenda in relation to the third sector in the UK, the EU and more generally and, an overview of current issues in the third sector and how social scientists go about studying them.

Find out more about SO645

This module will examine the impact of digital technology on our social and cultural lives. It will concentrate on how the Internet in particular has challenged some of our more traditional notions of identity and self, the body, relationships, community, privacy, politics, friendship, war and crime, economics, among others. Lectures will show how some of the basic components of culture such as notions of identity, space, the body, community, and even the very notion of what it is to be human, have been complicated by the rise of virtuality and cyberspace. We will also examine these issues through case study phenomena unique to digital culture, currently including gaming, music, cybersex and social networking.

Find out more about SO657

The course is concerned with the relatively new ideas of living in a ‘risk society’ which theoretically capture the heightened sensitivity within Western societies to the numerous ‘risks’ which shape our lives. The course will explore basic concepts of risk, hazard and probability and how risk is managed and communicated. Topics will include risk and globalization, and risk and the media. Developments will be examined through key examples such as ‘mad cow’ disease and genetically modified ‘frankenfoods’. The course will suggest that heightened perception of risk is here to stay, and is leading to a reorganisation of society in important areas.

Find out more about SO659

This course will enhance your Curriculum Vitae, particularly if you are hoping to work in the public or voluntary sector. You will be supported to undertake three placements in a variety of volunteering roles, both on and off campus; attend four lectures on the voluntary sector and complete a reflective learning log to help you think about your experiences and the transferable skills you are gaining.

The following 2 units are compulsory:

• Active community volunteering

• Project Leadership

Plus 1 unit selected from the following:

• Active university volunteering

• Training facilitator

• Mentoring

• Committee role

All students taking this module are expected to attend four sessions that provide the academic framework for understanding volunteering, as well as practitioner knowledge that will be helpful as you progress through your placements, and invaluable preparation for your essay. These sessions last one hour each and are spaced evenly throughout the academic year.

Find out more about SO670

Images of 'trim, taut and terrific' bodies surround us in contemporary consumer culture. They look down on us from billboards, are increasingly central to advertisers’ attempts to sell us clothes, cosmetics, cars, and other products, and pervade reality television programmes based on diet, exercise and ‘extreme’ makeovers. These trends have occurred at the same time that science, technology, genetic engineering and medicine have achieved unprecedented levels of control over the body: there are now few parts of the body which cannot be remoulded, supplemented or transplanted in one way or another. In this course we explore how culture represents and shapes bodies, and also examine how embodied subjects are themselves able to act on and influence the culture in which they live. We will seek to understand the relationship between the body and self-identity, embodiment and inequalities, and will explore various theories of the body. In doing this we range far and wide by looking at such issues as work, music, sex/gender, cyberbodies, Makeover TV, film, transgenderism, sport, music, work and sleep. Embodiment is the enduring theme of this course, though, and we will explore its many dimensions via a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, and by asking and addressing a range of questions such as ‘How and why has the body become increasingly commodified?’, ‘Why has the body become increasingly central to so many people’s sense of self-identity?’, ‘If we live in a culture that has been able to intervene in the sizes, shapes and contents of the body like never before, have people have become less sure about what is ‘natural’ about the body, and about how we should care for and treat our bodily selves?

Find out more about SO676

This course is intended to familiarise students with the conservative tradition in modern politics. This is achieved by reference to a range of key conservative thinkers selected to help students understand the diversity of the conservative tradition and consider what factors help to cohere it. Comparison within the tradition and across a variety of thinkers is achieved by examining these thinkers' views on four basic categories of modern politics, namely the state, the market, society and international relations. In order to meet these broad learning outcomes, essay questions will be designed in order to ensure that students have to compare different thinkers.

Find out more about PO669

A thread running through this module is a belief that to understand today's China we have to know how it has come to the present, as present-day China is a product of its deep imperial past and of its revolutions in the 20th century, the Republican, the Nationalist and the Communist. Before studying the 'rise' of contemporary China, we must therefore understand the decline collapse of imperial China from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. We can perceive the said rise of China as the process of regaining its rightful place in the Western-dominated international system and of mutual accommodation between China and the rest of the world.

The narrative of modern China starts from the late 16th century when China, ruled by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), was the regional hegemon. The demise of the Sino-centric regional order began in the early 19th century. Since then, Chinese rulers, officials and intellectuals have repeatedly groped for ways to modernise their country to counter mounting pressures from the West. Seen in this perspective, this module will be primarily focused on how China adapted itself to the modernising West in order to be accepted as a full and respected member of the international society while preserving its own non-Western identity. With this, you should be able to understand towards the end of this module why China now values the respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of all nations to freely choose their own paths to development. Also, for many students of International Relations, China’s entry and integration into the international society since the 1970s has been strikingly non-violent. A secondary focus of this module will be on how China and other key members of the world have been mutually accommodating to each other and whether China’s 'peaceful rise’ can continue.

Find out more about PO658

The course provides an overview of the broad field of international conflict analysis and resolution. Students have the opportunity to explore the motivations driving different forms of conflict, including interpersonal, group and civil violence. Students will also be exposed to a range of theories and approaches used to understand violent conflict, and a number of different methods of conflict resolution (e.g. negotiation, mediation, peacekeeping operations, and transitional justice.) The approach is interdisciplinary and juxtaposes traditional approaches used to study conflict management with new scientific studies of conflict and cooperation.

Find out more about PO660

The module examines the politics of transition and change in the post-communist states in their effort to establish new democratic regimes and find their place in the world. The module consists of three main parts.

Part I focuses on the experience and nature of communist rule, to develop basic understanding of communism as an ideal, political system, and a life style.

Part II looks at transitions, examining regional patterns of change and relating them to the 3rd and 4th waves (coloured revolutions) of democratisation globally.

Part III discusses the issues of post-communist politics in Europe, by way of exploring the forms and quality of democracy in the new states, considering the effect of EU enlargements on the new Member States and the EU neighbours; and discussing the future of communism in the world.

Find out more about PO618

This module provides an introduction to some of the major developments in Western political thought from the seventeenth century onwards by discussing the life, work and impact of key figures such as Nicolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, JS Mill, and Karl Marx. While these thinkers will be studied mostly in terms of their respective self-understanding, the overall concern of these studies is to examine the problems which 'modernity' poses for political theory in Western societies.

Find out more about PO623

This module introduces students into the study of terrorism and political violence, and thereafter deepens their knowledge of the controversial aspects of this subject. The initial lectures will deal with definitional problems involved in the concept of "terrorism" and various theories about the causes of political violence in its different forms. With a point of departure in a chronological review tracing the origins of the phenomenon long back in history, the module will later study the emergence of political terrorism during the second half of the 19th century. This will be followed by a study of state and dissident terrorism in different parts of the world. The module will also address the relationship between religious radicalism and different forms of political violence, including “new terrorism” and possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Then, the focus of attention will be shifted to implications of various counter-terrorism strategies and “The War on Terrorism” for democracy and human rights. These issues will addressed with a special focus on methodological problems involved in the study of terrorism and political violence.

Find out more about PO629

This module introduces students into the study of the Middle East as a region and an arena of international conflict. Against the background of a historical review of the developments in the 20th century, the module will focus on the colonial past of the region, the imperial legacy, the emergence of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the origins of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the impact of sub-state loyalties – i.e. factors which have shaped the Middle East as a region and as a security complex. In this context, the students will explore the ideological developments in the region, most important among them, the rise and fall of Arab nationalism, the emergence of Islamic radicalism and the consolidation of the Israeli right. Adopting an international relations perspective, the module will also cover the impact of outside state actors, such as USA, Russia and EU on the Middle East as a whole and on the relationships among those states that compose this region. Finally, the students will study the debate about "Orientalism" and the problematic aspects of the Western academic study of the Middle East and the Islamic world. These issues will be addressed with a special focus on the problem of bias involved in the academic study of the Middle East.

Find out more about PO630

The module examines the nature of political behaviour in Britain today. It focuses on two key issues. The first is the way that citizens participate in politics. The module explores the nature of political participation, and how this has changed in the last few decades. It also examines the characteristics of people who participate, and the factors that motivate individuals to engage in different forms of political participation. The second key issue examined is voting behaviour. The module considers how far electoral decisions are shaped by stable ‘sociological’ factors, and how far voters today are less closely aligned with parties and more open to the influence of particular policy messages, personalities and media coverage. Alongside this focus on the behaviour of citizens, the module also considers the activities of key intermediary organisations, such as legislators. Throughout, the module seeks to develop students’ understanding and analytical skills, by considering theories and models of political behaviour along with the way data and other evidence can be brought to bear in testing the validity of these models.

Find out more about PO638

This module explores the origins, evolution and role of the United Nations (UN) in world politics. The aim is to understand how and why states and other actors participate in the UN. The module further explores the extent to which the United Nations is able to achieve its stated goals of maintaining peace and security, achieving cooperation to solve key international problems, and promoting respect for human rights. The module examines the work of key UN organs, agencies, and member states in a variety of issue areas, with the aim of critically assessing the successes, challenges, and failures of the United Nations.

Find out more about PO555

This module examines the complex relationship between foreign policy analysis and foreign policy practice. It does so by exploring shifting approaches to making and examining foreign policy, including the contributions of IR theory to Foreign Policy Analysis. Historical antecedents of foreign policy as a practice are examined via exploring international actors, the system they inhabit (both internal and external), and the motivations that inform their individual actions and collective interactions. FPA is not as a single theory, capable of generating an overarching framework that can explain or help to understand actors' choices in all situations. The module will instead compare and contrast different FPA theories, often derived from IR theories, and critically assess their analytical advantages and weaknesses in applying them to "real world" examples. The module explores some major events or crises, such as the Iraq War and the South China Sea dispute, attempting to get an overview of the foreign policies of different states across international society, such as China, the United States, Japan, and Britain.

Find out more about PO563

This module focuses on the external dimension of European politics, exploring the inter-relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. Key issues that will be addressed will be the impact of global developments and issues on Europe, the international significance of European integration and the role of Europe in the new world order. 'Europe' will be disaggregated by examining the foreign policies of some of the major European states as well as the development of the European Union as a global actor. It will compare and contrast the response of European states to global challenges and assess the extent of the ‘Europeanisation’ of the foreign policies of EU member states. The growing role of the EU in international affairs will be examined through a number of case-studies related to specific states/regions or policy areas. Throughout the course the analysis will be informed by reference to appropriate concepts and theories from political science and international relations with particular reference to those related to the debates surrounding the issues of globalisation and integration.

Find out more about PO566

We examine the main challenges facing post-communist Russia and in particular assess the development of democracy. We discuss the main institutions and political processes: the presidency, parliament, federalism, elections, party development and foreign policy, as well as discuss Yeltin's, Putin’s and Medvedev's leadership. We end with a broader evaluation of issues like the relationship of markets to democracy, civil society and its discontents, nationalism, political culture and democracy and Russia's place in the world.

Find out more about PO579

In western countries feminism has had a considerable impact on the conduct of practical politics. The purpose of this module is to consider the ways in which feminist thought has influenced political theory. Returning to some of the earliest feminist critiques of modern politics by Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill, we examine a range of feminist approaches to politics, asking what unifies them and where and why they diverge from one another. Throughout, we ask how meaningful it is to speak of feminism in the singular: given the immense variety displayed by feminist thinking, should we talk about feminisms? Another guiding question will be the extent to which these approaches pose a fundamental challenge to traditional political theory. Can feminist theories of politics just 'add women and stir'? Or do feminist approaches compel us to new or different methodologies, conceptual tools and even definitions of politics?

Find out more about PO593

This module aims to provide students with a critical introduction and review of China's political development from 1949 to today. Following a brief historical review of the evolution of the Chinese political system since 1949, this module is designed around two core blocks of study.

The first block looks at the principal political institutions. They include the Communist Party, the government (State Council), the legislature (National People’s Congress) and the military (People’s Liberation Army). The second block examines the socio-political issues and challenges the country is facing in its ongoing development. They range from political participation and state-society relations, the cost of economic growth to environment and public health, tensions with ethnic minorities, the issues of nationalism and the relationship with Taiwan and Hong Kong, irredentism and territorial disputes with neighbouring countries, and finally China’s grand strategy of the Belt and Road Initiative.

A theme running through various lectures of this module is to ask why post-Mao China has performed better than many other authoritarian regimes in achieving both economic growth and political stability and acquiring international influence, despite the fact that China faces numerous mounting development challenges.

Find out more about PO597

The purpose of the module is to introduce students to the European Union, how it has evolved since its creation and how it works. In this module, students gain an understanding of the dynamic of European integration over time, analyse the functioning and roles of the EU's main institutional bodies as well as key political questions underpinning the decision-making structures of the EU. The module will address topics including: the history of European integration, the EU’s institutions and decision-making processes, how EU decisions are implemented, interest group activity in the EU and how this affects

EU decision-making, public opinion on the EU, the EU’s democratic deficit and the future of the European integration project.

Find out more about PO611

Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, the rise of challenger parties and heightened tension with Putin's Russia. This has led to increased questioning of the purpose and trajectory of European integration and policy-making. The Brexit decision by the UK electorate in June 2016 plunged the EU further into crisis, sending shockwaves throughout the world as for the very first time an EU member state chose exit over voice or loyalty. Membership of the EU is now clearly contingent and the reverberations of this decision will affect both the EU and the UK for many years to come. The focus of this module is on assessing the capacity of the EU as a system of public policy-making as it faces these myriad challenges. In so doing we endeavour to understand how the EU's system of governance works, how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system and how its policy-making capacity may evolve in the future. This module focuses on the EU’s 'outputs’ in terms of public policy in this context, with particular attention paid to the fields of market regulation, monetary union, environmental policy, agriculture policy, regional policy, justice and home affairs, foreign policy and trade policy. As well as analysing the effectiveness of EU policy-making in these policy areas, we also evaluate the impact of Brexit on their operation, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.

Find out more about PO612

PO617 offers a comprehensive introduction to the politics and national government of the United States. The course is divided into four inter-linked parts. In Part I students will be introduced to the 'foundations' of the US political system. Students will examine the history of the republic, its economy and society, the values and beliefs American people subscribe to, and the basic structure of the political system. Part I therefore provides essential knowledge upon which the rest of the course builds. In Part II students will examine those ‘intermediate’ institutions (interest groups, parties, elections and the media) that link people to their government. We will look at why Americans vote the way they do; at the role US parties play and their relevance to Americans’ lives; at whether interest groups have usurped the role of parties; and at whether the media exacerbate cynicism about politicians and the wider political system. In Part III students focus on the three institutions of the federal government: the Congress, Presidency and Supreme Court. We will examine both the institution that is Congress and the individuals that are elected to it and ask whether they have compatible goals or not, and whether Congress has usurped some of the roles and power of the presidency. Similarly, we will examine the extent to which the Presidency is an institution in decline or resurgent in the new century. Finally, we will examine the political and legal role that the Supreme Court plays in the modern US political system. In the fourth and final part of the course, students focus on the policymaking process in the US. We will look at how and why policy is made, and examine the extent to which the policy solutions produced by the political system are optimal.

Find out more about PO617

One of the strengths of the Liberal Arts programme is its ability to draw connections between various fields of knowledge of disciplines that have become increasingly fragmented. By focusing on great books of the past and present that straddle across disciplinary boundaries, this module helps students build bridges between various areas of knowledge. While the content will differ from year to year, depending on student and staff interests, this module will explore key themes in philosophy, history, social and political sciences, humanities, literature, art, and the hard sciences. It will aim to show that these disciplines have a great deal in common, and that understanding across great works help create a deeper understanding of contemporary issues. By engaging students with qualitative and quantitative data, it will also allow them to interpret and reflect on information coming from a wide range of sources.

Find out more about PO685

This module will address the major milestones in the politics and international relations of East Asia since 1945. We will analyse the causes and significance for East Asian countries of events such as the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the economic take-off of both Japan and South Korea, China's economic reforms, democratisation across the region, and US-China competition.

A central theme of the module will be analysing the decisions that leaders take in order to hold onto power – from repression and liberalisation to corruption, purges, and propaganda – and how these decisions continue to influence the domestic and international politics of East Asian countries. We will explore differences in the countries’ domestic political systems to help understand major historical and contemporary policies, and the influence of economic and security considerations.

Find out more about PO683

In this course, we shall examine the most urgent developments and security issues that affect the Asia-Pacific region.

It will start with an overview of International Relations theories and an exploration of whether non-Western International Relations theories will be a better alternative in understanding the development and security challenges in the Asia-Pacific.

We will then address the key international development and security dilemmas in the region. These include: the Taiwan problem; nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula; the danger of nationalism in Japan and beyond; territorial disputes in the South China Sea; and ensuring economic growth and regional cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Finally, we will ask whether the influence and authority of the US, the incumbent hegemon in the Asia-Pacific region, are in decline and its preeminent role will soon be replaced by a rising China, and whether great-power confrontation is inevitable.

Find out more about PO684

This module provides an overview of key theories, concepts and debates in the discipline of international relations: examples of such theories include liberalism, realism, international society approaches, Marxism, critical theory, post-structuralism and feminism. The theories will be introduced and evaluated in terms of their weaknesses and strengths. This will require some discussion of how theories contribute to the formation of knowledge and how they are to be 'tested' or evaluated.

Find out more about PO690

This module provides students with an understanding of the concept of social status: how it differs from (and interacts with) other aspects of social stratification, such as power, class, and material circumstances. Students will explore theories for why human beings value social status so highly, and why they often take such dramatic steps to avoid losing it. The module will examine how considering social status concerns helps us to understand a variety of important social phenomena, encompassing health, violence, education, cultural participation, morality, and identity. Students will become familiar with the empirical tools researchers have used to understand the role of status, along with the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.

Find out more about SO5013

The aim of this module is to provide students with a critical understanding of the nature and extent of crime and deviance in contemporary society, and the main ways in which they can be explained and controlled. Focusing upon contemporary sociological theories of crime against a background of the classical ideas within the field, this module will provide undergraduates with an opportunity to engage with the most up-to-date debates in an area of great interest in contemporary society.

Find out more about SO505

'Health', 'illness' and 'medicine' are by no means static concepts. Their meaning has changed over time, and there is competition and conflict over what they mean. For example, in recent decades, health has come to mean much more the absence of disease. This is the age of healthy eating, sexual health, holistic health, healthy lifestyles and healthy living. We live in a time when medicine can mean homeopathy or acupuncture, as well as heart surgery and vaccinations. 'Health' is also something we seem to worry about, and panic over; recent years have witnessed high profile scares about eating beef, using the contraceptive pill and mobile phones, and giving babies the MMR vaccine. 'Health, Illness and Medicine' discusses key ideas and concepts developed by social scientists that can help us understand these, and other, aspects of our society.

Find out more about SO509

Environmental issues have become central matters of public concern and political contention. In this module we shall consider explanations for the rise and social distribution of environmental concern as well as the forms of organisation that have been adopted to address environmental questions, including the emergence of global environmental issues and the responses to them. The development of environmental protest, environmental movements and Green parties are central concerns, but we shall also consider the 'greening' of established political parties and political agenda. Is it realistic to expect the development of a global environmental movement adequate to the task of tackling global environmental problems. The approach is broadly comparative and examples will be taken from Europe (east and west), North America, Australasia and south-east Asia.

Find out more about SO525

This module introduces students to the sociological approach to understanding and critiquing mental health. It begins by outlining historical definitions of mental health; and how policy and practice have changed over time from incarceration in large institutions to present-day community care. Sociological perspectives of mental illness (for example, labelling and social causations of mental ill-health) are considered alongside psychiatric and psychological approaches to treating people with mental illnesses. The module then looks at social inequalities in relation to opportunities to recover, including gender and race, as well as other 'actors' Please note, as this is not a clinical module material covered will not include in-depth investigations of specific diagnoses of mental illnesses

Find out more about SO532

This module will examine the ways in which violence is receiving increasing attention within the social sciences, and will introduce the major theoretical and research themes involved in the analysis of violence. It will examine data on the prevalence, nature and effects of violent crime, and will consider issues of violence, aggression and masculinity. This will be done with particular reference to examples, such as racist crime, homophobic crime and domestic violence. The module will approach violence from interpersonal and societal perspectives and will include consideration of collective violence and genocide. It will further examine solutions to solutions to violence and conflict resolution, the effects of intervention strategies and non-juridical responses to violence.

Find out more about SO534

The module will be organised around the following themes:

• The history, development and structure of the institutions of the CJS

• Current issues facing the CJS

• Crime, crime control and social exclusion

• Crime prevention and community safety

Within the organisation of the module students will be encouraged to cooperate on issues based around the above themes and to participate verbally within the context of class discussions, group presentation and class debate.

Find out more about SO536

What is meant by ‘racism’? Charges of racism are seemingly everywhere – in the workplace, in the streets, in everyday interactions. But what exactly is racism? Is it beliefs about racial inferiority or superiority? Is it found in actions and consequences whether people intended to be racist or not? We will first review various theories of racism, and critically assess how changing conceptualisations of racism arise in specific, socio-political contexts. We will also consider whether a colour-blind future is desirable and/or possible.

Find out more about SO537

This module focuses on poverty and inequality and how such social security policies impact upon them. Students will analyse the nature, extent and causes of poverty and inequality, with reference to the UK. The module will make students aware of current issues in welfare reform as it relates to groups vulnerable to poverty including: people who are unemployed; people who are sick or disabled; older people; children; lone parents; people from Black or minority ethnic groups. The module also shows how social security policies encompass different principles of need, rights and entitlement for users of welfare services.

Find out more about SO575

This module provides a broad introduction to welfare services in modern Britain, with a focus on England. Successful students will improve their understanding of the recent history and current organisation of the following areas of social welfare provision. These include education, health, social care, and housing.

The module starts with a basic mapping and description of key institutions and issues. It then moves on to: The policy-making process: paying for welfare services; social policy implementation by government and professions; assessing the impact of social policies.

The teaching will emphasise debates, arguments and controversies. Students will learn how to put together an argument and persuade others.

Find out more about SO601

This course will provide students with a sociological understanding of the changing and central importance of individualization for contemporary society, situated both in historical and global comparative terms. The fracturing of collective bonds and assumptions and the casting of individuals into a 'life of their own making' is driven by a combination of economic, technological and cultural forces and is becoming apparent across the globe. This has provoked concern with the implications for social order, mental health and even the future of families and populations. The neglected theme of individualization allows us to examine changing social norms, the changing boundaries of private and public, the management of social order and cohesion in increasingly diverse societies and how anxieties concerning these developments may be overstated or misplaced. At the same time, this module will also emphasize the importance of attending to the ethical and practical implications of unchecked individualization in a variety of contexts and through different case studies

Find out more about SO6011

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 3

Optional modules may include

This course will provide students with a sociological understanding of the changing and central importance of individualization for contemporary society, situated both in historical and global comparative terms. The fracturing of collective bonds and assumptions and the casting of individuals into a 'life of their own making' is driven by a combination of economic, technological and cultural forces and is becoming apparent across the globe. This has provoked concern with the implications for social order, mental health and even the future of families and populations. The neglected theme of individualization allows us to examine changing social norms, the changing boundaries of private and public, the management of social order and cohesion in increasingly diverse societies and how anxieties concerning these developments may be overstated or misplaced. At the same time, this module will also emphasize the importance of attending to the ethical and practical implications of unchecked individualization in a variety of contexts and through different case studies

Find out more about SO6011

Environmental issues have become central matters of public concern and political contention. In this module we shall consider explanations for the rise and social distribution of environmental concern as well as the forms of organisation that have been adopted to address environmental questions, including the emergence of global environmental issues and the responses to them. The development of environmental protest, environmental movements and Green parties are central concerns, but we shall also consider the 'greening' of established political parties and political agenda. Is it realistic to expect the development of a global environmental movement adequate to the task of tackling global environmental problems. The approach is broadly comparative and examples will be taken from Europe (east and west), North America, Australasia and south-east Asia.

Find out more about SO525

This module provides students with an understanding of the concept of social status: how it differs from (and interacts with) other aspects of social stratification, such as power, class, and material circumstances. Students will explore theories for why human beings value social status so highly, and why they often take such dramatic steps to avoid losing it. The module will examine how considering social status concerns helps us to understand a variety of important social phenomena, encompassing health, violence, education, cultural participation, morality, and identity. Students will become familiar with the empirical tools researchers have used to understand the role of status, along with the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.

Find out more about SO5013

Images of 'trim, taut and terrific' bodies surround us in contemporary consumer culture. They look down on us from billboards, are increasingly central to advertisers’ attempts to sell us clothes, cosmetics, cars, and other products, and pervade reality television programmes based on diet, exercise and ‘extreme’ makeovers. These trends have occurred at the same time that science, technology, genetic engineering and medicine have achieved unprecedented levels of control over the body: there are now few parts of the body which cannot be remoulded, supplemented or transplanted in one way or another. In this course we explore how culture represents and shapes bodies, and also examine how embodied subjects are themselves able to act on and influence the culture in which they live. We will seek to understand the relationship between the body and self-identity, embodiment and inequalities, and will explore various theories of the body. In doing this we range far and wide by looking at such issues as work, music, sex/gender, cyberbodies, Makeover TV, film, transgenderism, sport, music, work and sleep. Embodiment is the enduring theme of this course, though, and we will explore its many dimensions via a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, and by asking and addressing a range of questions such as ‘How and why has the body become increasingly commodified?’, ‘Why has the body become increasingly central to so many people’s sense of self-identity?’, ‘If we live in a culture that has been able to intervene in the sizes, shapes and contents of the body like never before, have people have become less sure about what is ‘natural’ about the body, and about how we should care for and treat our bodily selves?

Find out more about SO676

This module aims to enable students to design and conduct their own piece of research. This can be primary research where students collect and analyse their own data, or it can be library based, where students research existing literature or re-analyse data collected by others. The research can be about a particular policy or policy area, social problem, social development, or matter of sociological interest. The dissertation will usually be set out as a series of chapters. In order to assist students with designing and writing a dissertation a supervisor – a member of staff in SSPSSR - will have an initial meeting with students (during the summer term of Year 2 where possible) and then during the Autumn and Spring terms students will have at least six formal dissertation sessions with their supervisor. These may be held individually or with other students. In addition there will be two lectures by the module convenor which will also support students' progress, workshops on bibliography development (Autumn term) and data analysis (Spring term).

Find out more about SO679

The course is concerned with the relatively new ideas of living in a ‘risk society’ which theoretically capture the heightened sensitivity within Western societies to the numerous ‘risks’ which shape our lives. The course will explore basic concepts of risk, hazard and probability and how risk is managed and communicated. Topics will include risk and globalization, and risk and the media. Developments will be examined through key examples such as ‘mad cow’ disease and genetically modified ‘frankenfoods’. The course will suggest that heightened perception of risk is here to stay, and is leading to a reorganisation of society in important areas.

Find out more about SO659

This module will examine the impact of digital technology on our social and cultural lives. It will concentrate on how the Internet in particular has challenged some of our more traditional notions of identity and self, the body, relationships, community, privacy, politics, friendship, war and crime, economics, among others. Lectures will show how some of the basic components of culture such as notions of identity, space, the body, community, and even the very notion of what it is to be human, have been complicated by the rise of virtuality and cyberspace. We will also examine these issues through case study phenomena unique to digital culture, currently including gaming, music, cybersex and social networking.

Find out more about SO657

The course aims to develop an empirically grounded and theoretically engaged understanding of how social experience from the Global South informs, corrects and extends contemporary sociological theorisation and norms of sociological investigation. The module consists of three parts: 1) By putting the Global South and its power struggle in historical context, the module starts with critical examination on the blind spots of our presumed 'global' or 'cosmopolitan' social outlook. It problematises the once taken-for-granted universality of Eurocentric norms and discusses what good social research should look like. It also provides in-depth critique on the socio-political limitations of alternative theorisation from the Global South. 2) After establishing a solid historical and conceptual understanding of key debates, this module uses region-specific lectures (e.g. China, India and Africa) to deepen understanding on the Global South’s views on universality and difference, resistance and subversion, national and transnational solidarities. 3) This module concludes with methodological and conceptual reflections on mainstream sociology

Find out more about SO627

This module aims to get students to think about their place in their social worlds, and in particular the importance of our ethnic and racial backgrounds and identities in shaping this sense of belonging. What is the nature of ethnic ties and membership? How do understanding of ethnic group identity and membership influence our interactions with one another, and structure our opportunities in the wider society? How do our ethnic backgrounds intersect with our gender, religion, and sexuality? These issues are now critical in multi-ethnic societies such as Britain, where our use of ethnic categories and terms are central to societal organization and function, whether in the census or in everyday interactions. But given the dizzying speed with which our societies are become super-diverse, via various forms of migration, and interracial and interethnic unions, the terms and categories we use are much less 'obvious' than they may have been in the past. Membership in ethnic groups themselves is now increasingly contested, and we also question what we mean by terms such as ‘minority’ or ‘BME’

Find out more about SO6012

This module critically examines the historical role that animals have played in the making of modern society and the current nature of human/nonhuman relations in contemporary cultures. Students will also be introduced to intersections of race/class/gender and species. The final part of the course considers collective action and social policy as it relates to past and present efforts to challenge problematic aspects of human/nonhuman relations.

Find out more about SO626

This module aims to develop a critical understanding of one of the most timely and pressing issues of recent times, namely, migration, and its relationship to politics of identities, belonging and citizenship in global societies. It aims to introduce students to key themes and issues related to the social experience of migration in a diversity of contexts. Over the course of the term, we will debate and critically explore the ways in which migrants, refugees and diaspora communities shape their societies of settlement and origin and how they have become key actors of a process of 'globalisation from below' at different social and spatial scales. We will critically discuss key concepts and theories deployed to analyse contemporary processes of migration, transnationalism and diaspora and assess their relevance across a wide range of migration case studies. Examples of the central questions this module will address are: what are the main drivers of contemporary migration? To what extent can migrants become transnational citizens? What is the link between migration and homeland development in third world countries? How are gender, class and race relations affected by migration?

Find out more about SO755

This module is designed as an exploration of both the social history and historiography of 'the Enlightenment'. It draws a focus to the legacy of Enlightenment in contemporary sociological theory. It explores the bearing of Enlightenment ideas and interests upon the intellectual and political cultures of western modernity. It introduces students to ongoing debates concerned with the legacy of the Enlightenment in twenty-first century society. In this context, it explores the influence of the Enlightenment and its cultural portrayal in contemporary sociology in current disputes concerned with the legacy of colonialism, the gendering of the public sphere, the fate of religion and religious culture through modern times, the cultivation of our social and political democracy and the 'tragic' fate of modern rationality.

Find out more about SO764

The course discusses the main approaches which have developed in urban sociology through an exploration of some of the major themes. These themes include urbanisation under capitalism, planning, post-industrialism, globalisation, social differentiation, multiculturalism, protest and social movements, and comparative urbanism (Asian and African contexts). Approaches considered within these will include Marx, Weber, the Chicago School, the Manchester school, and post-modernism.

Find out more about SO712

This module aims to develop a critical understanding of one of the most important intellectual and political issues of our times, namely, 'globalization' and global social change. In so doing, this module poses a number of key questions: what is globalization, and what forms does it take? How does globalization reconstitute our relationship to society? How is globalization experienced across the world, and what power relations does it create? This module presents contemporary modes and challenges of doing sociology in an increasingly complex and interdependent world. Students will critically evaluate contending theories of globalization, and explore key topical debates in global issues, including the impact of global economic treaties on poverty, trade, and urban growth in the Global South; the flows, opportunities, and conflicts in the creation of global culture, and resistance to global forces and power relations in the form of anti-globalization movements.

Find out more about SO684

This module provides an overview of the degree to which cyberspace continues to revolutionise the operations of both state and non-state actors, and the challenges of governing this 'fifth sphere' of power projection. Whilst this module is not entrenched in International Relations or Security Studies theory, students will have the opportunity to apply both traditional and non-traditional approaches to the politics of cyberspace. Key themes include: 21st century technology, cyber warfare, espionage, surveillance, deterrence theory, cyberterrorism, and representation of threatening cyber-entities. Students will develop a toolkit to critique the existing state and NGO-based governance regime for cyberspace, and will convey arguments both for and against a ‘Geneva Convention’ for cyberspace.

Find out more about PO691

The aim of the module is offer an understanding of nationalism as a political phenomenon, approached from different perspectives and appreciated in its manifestations across time and space. The module first introduces and discusses the concepts of nations and nationalism and their distinctions from related concepts such as state, ethnic group, region etc. It then charts the emergence of nationalism, its success in becoming the dominant principle of political organisation, and its diffusion around the world. Subsequently, it engages with the main theories seeking to account for this process, discussing their respective strengths and weaknesses. It then explores the tensions between state and regional nationalism and some of the theories put forward to explain the latter. In a further step, it discusses some of the key aspects of nationalism, such as nation-building, national identity, nationalism and state structures, nationalism and secession, and the challenge of supra-national integration. It concludes by discussing some of the key normative questions raised by nationalism and assessing the likely trajectory of nationalism in the foreseeable future. By so doing, the module offers an analysis of the past, present, and future of nationalism and its significance in contemporary politics.

Find out more about PO692

In this course, we shall examine the most urgent developments and security issues that affect the Asia-Pacific region.

It will start with an overview of International Relations theories and an exploration of whether non-Western International Relations theories will be a better alternative in understanding the development and security challenges in the Asia-Pacific.

We will then address the key international development and security dilemmas in the region. These include: the Taiwan problem; nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula; the danger of nationalism in Japan and beyond; territorial disputes in the South China Sea; and ensuring economic growth and regional cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Finally, we will ask whether the influence and authority of the US, the incumbent hegemon in the Asia-Pacific region, are in decline and its preeminent role will soon be replaced by a rising China, and whether great-power confrontation is inevitable.

Find out more about PO684

This module will address the major milestones in the politics and international relations of East Asia since 1945. We will analyse the causes and significance for East Asian countries of events such as the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the economic take-off of both Japan and South Korea, China's economic reforms, democratisation across the region, and US-China competition.

A central theme of the module will be analysing the decisions that leaders take in order to hold onto power – from repression and liberalisation to corruption, purges, and propaganda – and how these decisions continue to influence the domestic and international politics of East Asian countries. We will explore differences in the countries’ domestic political systems to help understand major historical and contemporary policies, and the influence of economic and security considerations.

Find out more about PO683

One of the strengths of the Liberal Arts programme is its ability to draw connections between various fields of knowledge of disciplines that have become increasingly fragmented. By focusing on great books of the past and present that straddle across disciplinary boundaries, this module helps students build bridges between various areas of knowledge. While the content will differ from year to year, depending on student and staff interests, this module will explore key themes in philosophy, history, social and political sciences, humanities, literature, art, and the hard sciences. It will aim to show that these disciplines have a great deal in common, and that understanding across great works help create a deeper understanding of contemporary issues. By engaging students with qualitative and quantitative data, it will also allow them to interpret and reflect on information coming from a wide range of sources.

Find out more about PO685

PO617 offers a comprehensive introduction to the politics and national government of the United States. The course is divided into four inter-linked parts. In Part I students will be introduced to the 'foundations' of the US political system. Students will examine the history of the republic, its economy and society, the values and beliefs American people subscribe to, and the basic structure of the political system. Part I therefore provides essential knowledge upon which the rest of the course builds. In Part II students will examine those ‘intermediate’ institutions (interest groups, parties, elections and the media) that link people to their government. We will look at why Americans vote the way they do; at the role US parties play and their relevance to Americans’ lives; at whether interest groups have usurped the role of parties; and at whether the media exacerbate cynicism about politicians and the wider political system. In Part III students focus on the three institutions of the federal government: the Congress, Presidency and Supreme Court. We will examine both the institution that is Congress and the individuals that are elected to it and ask whether they have compatible goals or not, and whether Congress has usurped some of the roles and power of the presidency. Similarly, we will examine the extent to which the Presidency is an institution in decline or resurgent in the new century. Finally, we will examine the political and legal role that the Supreme Court plays in the modern US political system. In the fourth and final part of the course, students focus on the policymaking process in the US. We will look at how and why policy is made, and examine the extent to which the policy solutions produced by the political system are optimal.

Find out more about PO617

Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, the rise of challenger parties and heightened tension with Putin's Russia. This has led to increased questioning of the purpose and trajectory of European integration and policy-making. The Brexit decision by the UK electorate in June 2016 plunged the EU further into crisis, sending shockwaves throughout the world as for the very first time an EU member state chose exit over voice or loyalty. Membership of the EU is now clearly contingent and the reverberations of this decision will affect both the EU and the UK for many years to come. The focus of this module is on assessing the capacity of the EU as a system of public policy-making as it faces these myriad challenges. In so doing we endeavour to understand how the EU's system of governance works, how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system and how its policy-making capacity may evolve in the future. This module focuses on the EU’s 'outputs’ in terms of public policy in this context, with particular attention paid to the fields of market regulation, monetary union, environmental policy, agriculture policy, regional policy, justice and home affairs, foreign policy and trade policy. As well as analysing the effectiveness of EU policy-making in these policy areas, we also evaluate the impact of Brexit on their operation, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.

Find out more about PO612

The purpose of the module is to introduce students to the European Union, how it has evolved since its creation and how it works. In this module, students gain an understanding of the dynamic of European integration over time, analyse the functioning and roles of the EU's main institutional bodies as well as key political questions underpinning the decision-making structures of the EU. The module will address topics including: the history of European integration, the EU’s institutions and decision-making processes, how EU decisions are implemented, interest group activity in the EU and how this affects

EU decision-making, public opinion on the EU, the EU’s democratic deficit and the future of the European integration project.

Find out more about PO611

This module aims to provide students with a critical introduction and review of China's political development from 1949 to today. Following a brief historical review of the evolution of the Chinese political system since 1949, this module is designed around two core blocks of study.

The first block looks at the principal political institutions. They include the Communist Party, the government (State Council), the legislature (National People’s Congress) and the military (People’s Liberation Army). The second block examines the socio-political issues and challenges the country is facing in its ongoing development. They range from political participation and state-society relations, the cost of economic growth to environment and public health, tensions with ethnic minorities, the issues of nationalism and the relationship with Taiwan and Hong Kong, irredentism and territorial disputes with neighbouring countries, and finally China’s grand strategy of the Belt and Road Initiative.

A theme running through various lectures of this module is to ask why post-Mao China has performed better than many other authoritarian regimes in achieving both economic growth and political stability and acquiring international influence, despite the fact that China faces numerous mounting development challenges.

Find out more about PO597

In western countries feminism has had a considerable impact on the conduct of practical politics. The purpose of this module is to consider the ways in which feminist thought has influenced political theory. Returning to some of the earliest feminist critiques of modern politics by Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill, we examine a range of feminist approaches to politics, asking what unifies them and where and why they diverge from one another. Throughout, we ask how meaningful it is to speak of feminism in the singular: given the immense variety displayed by feminist thinking, should we talk about feminisms? Another guiding question will be the extent to which these approaches pose a fundamental challenge to traditional political theory. Can feminist theories of politics just 'add women and stir'? Or do feminist approaches compel us to new or different methodologies, conceptual tools and even definitions of politics?

Find out more about PO593

We examine the main challenges facing post-communist Russia and in particular assess the development of democracy. We discuss the main institutions and political processes: the presidency, parliament, federalism, elections, party development and foreign policy, as well as discuss Yeltin's, Putin’s and Medvedev's leadership. We end with a broader evaluation of issues like the relationship of markets to democracy, civil society and its discontents, nationalism, political culture and democracy and Russia's place in the world.

Find out more about PO579

This module examines the complex relationship between foreign policy analysis and foreign policy practice. It does so by exploring shifting approaches to making and examining foreign policy, including the contributions of IR theory to Foreign Policy Analysis. Historical antecedents of foreign policy as a practice are examined via exploring international actors, the system they inhabit (both internal and external), and the motivations that inform their individual actions and collective interactions. FPA is not as a single theory, capable of generating an overarching framework that can explain or help to understand actors' choices in all situations. The module will instead compare and contrast different FPA theories, often derived from IR theories, and critically assess their analytical advantages and weaknesses in applying them to "real world" examples. The module explores some major events or crises, such as the Iraq War and the South China Sea dispute, attempting to get an overview of the foreign policies of different states across international society, such as China, the United States, Japan, and Britain.

Find out more about PO563

This module explores the origins, evolution and role of the United Nations (UN) in world politics. The aim is to understand how and why states and other actors participate in the UN. The module further explores the extent to which the United Nations is able to achieve its stated goals of maintaining peace and security, achieving cooperation to solve key international problems, and promoting respect for human rights. The module examines the work of key UN organs, agencies, and member states in a variety of issue areas, with the aim of critically assessing the successes, challenges, and failures of the United Nations.

Find out more about PO555

This module introduces students into the study of the Middle East as a region and an arena of international conflict. Against the background of a historical review of the developments in the 20th century, the module will focus on the colonial past of the region, the imperial legacy, the emergence of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the origins of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the impact of sub-state loyalties – i.e. factors which have shaped the Middle East as a region and as a security complex. In this context, the students will explore the ideological developments in the region, most important among them, the rise and fall of Arab nationalism, the emergence of Islamic radicalism and the consolidation of the Israeli right. Adopting an international relations perspective, the module will also cover the impact of outside state actors, such as USA, Russia and EU on the Middle East as a whole and on the relationships among those states that compose this region. Finally, the students will study the debate about "Orientalism" and the problematic aspects of the Western academic study of the Middle East and the Islamic world. These issues will be addressed with a special focus on the problem of bias involved in the academic study of the Middle East.

Find out more about PO630

This module introduces students into the study of terrorism and political violence, and thereafter deepens their knowledge of the controversial aspects of this subject. The initial lectures will deal with definitional problems involved in the concept of "terrorism" and various theories about the causes of political violence in its different forms. With a point of departure in a chronological review tracing the origins of the phenomenon long back in history, the module will later study the emergence of political terrorism during the second half of the 19th century. This will be followed by a study of state and dissident terrorism in different parts of the world. The module will also address the relationship between religious radicalism and different forms of political violence, including “new terrorism” and possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Then, the focus of attention will be shifted to implications of various counter-terrorism strategies and “The War on Terrorism” for democracy and human rights. These issues will addressed with a special focus on methodological problems involved in the study of terrorism and political violence.

Find out more about PO629

This module provides an introduction to some of the major developments in Western political thought from the seventeenth century onwards by discussing the life, work and impact of key figures such as Nicolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, JS Mill, and Karl Marx. While these thinkers will be studied mostly in terms of their respective self-understanding, the overall concern of these studies is to examine the problems which 'modernity' poses for political theory in Western societies.

Find out more about PO623

The course provides an overview of the broad field of international conflict analysis and resolution. Students have the opportunity to explore the motivations driving different forms of conflict, including interpersonal, group and civil violence. Students will also be exposed to a range of theories and approaches used to understand violent conflict, and a number of different methods of conflict resolution (e.g. negotiation, mediation, peacekeeping operations, and transitional justice.) The approach is interdisciplinary and juxtaposes traditional approaches used to study conflict management with new scientific studies of conflict and cooperation.

Find out more about PO660

A thread running through this module is a belief that to understand today's China we have to know how it has come to the present, as present-day China is a product of its deep imperial past and of its revolutions in the 20th century, the Republican, the Nationalist and the Communist. Before studying the 'rise' of contemporary China, we must therefore understand the decline collapse of imperial China from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. We can perceive the said rise of China as the process of regaining its rightful place in the Western-dominated international system and of mutual accommodation between China and the rest of the world.

The narrative of modern China starts from the late 16th century when China, ruled by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), was the regional hegemon. The demise of the Sino-centric regional order began in the early 19th century. Since then, Chinese rulers, officials and intellectuals have repeatedly groped for ways to modernise their country to counter mounting pressures from the West. Seen in this perspective, this module will be primarily focused on how China adapted itself to the modernising West in order to be accepted as a full and respected member of the international society while preserving its own non-Western identity. With this, you should be able to understand towards the end of this module why China now values the respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of all nations to freely choose their own paths to development. Also, for many students of International Relations, China’s entry and integration into the international society since the 1970s has been strikingly non-violent. A secondary focus of this module will be on how China and other key members of the world have been mutually accommodating to each other and whether China’s 'peaceful rise’ can continue.

Find out more about PO658

This course is intended to familiarise students with the conservative tradition in modern politics. This is achieved by reference to a range of key conservative thinkers selected to help students understand the diversity of the conservative tradition and consider what factors help to cohere it. Comparison within the tradition and across a variety of thinkers is achieved by examining these thinkers' views on four basic categories of modern politics, namely the state, the market, society and international relations. In order to meet these broad learning outcomes, essay questions will be designed in order to ensure that students have to compare different thinkers.

Find out more about PO669

This module prepares students both to think about the ways in which the landscapes are evolving and being shaped by contemporary developments in technical, scientific, and theoretical fields; and to think about how they want to take part in these developments in their own lives, through professional activity or further study. It will prepare students to think critically about the opportunities and dangers that come with the future, notably through the changes taking place in production techniques (through three-dimensional printing), ecological change and planning, scientific advancements and their impact on the humanities and social sciences (such as quantum theory's challenge to historical studies). By building on bodies of work that have already discussed the potential impact of new technologies and scientific innovations on our understanding of the human, this module will demand intellectual reflection on the potential for change and transformation, with reference to past events and how transformation has occurred to this day. In additional, the module will provide practical guidance on how to think about the student’s own future, whether professionally or for further studies. It will guide students through the possibilities open to them, and give them practical skills to secure an interview and present themselves successfully.

Find out more about PO681

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £12600
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6300
  • International part-time £8400

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Teaching and assessment

Sociology

We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, case study analysis, group projects and presentations, and individual and group tutorials. Many module convenors also offer additional ‘clinic’ hours to help with the preparation of coursework and for exams.

Politics

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, simulations and role plays, workshops, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and discussions with your tutor. Assessment is through feedback, written examinations, assessed essays and oral presentations, among others.

For assessment details for individual modules click the 'read more' link within each module listed in the course structure.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Independent rankings

Sociology at Kent was ranked 1st for research quality in The Complete University Guide 2021.

In The Guardian University Guide 2020, over 88% of final-year Sociology students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

In The Guardian University Guide 2020, over 91% of final-year Politics students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Of Sociology students who graduated from Kent in 2017 and completed a national survey, over 93% of were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Careers

Graduate destinations

As part of your degree, you develop critical thinking, transferable knowledge and skills that enable you to work in a variety of professions.

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • national and local government
  • practical politics
  • social and cultural policy
  • international institutions and NGOs
  • the organisation of social and community projects
  • media, journalism, broadcasting
  • social services.

Help finding a job

The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research has its own employability team who work with businesses and organisations to maximise opportunities for our students. We also hold an Employability Month every February and run networking events throughout the year to help you develop your skills and contacts.

We have excellent links with local outside agencies, such as the probation and youth justice services, the police and social services.

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

As well as gaining skills and knowledge in your subject area, you acquire key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates.

These skills include:

  • analysing complex information and making it accessible to non-specialist readers
  • writing reports
  • using data analysis software
  • working effectively and considerately in teams
  • an understanding of, and sensitivity to, the values and interests of others.

You can gain additional skills by signing up for our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Apply for this course

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

Find out more about how to apply

All applicants

Apply through UCAS

International applicants

Apply now to Kent

Contact us

bubble-text

United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

earth

International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

Discover Uni information

DiscoverUni logo
Full-time
Part-time

Discover Uni is designed to support prospective students in deciding whether, where and what to study. The site replaces Unistats from September 2019.

Discover Uni is jointly owned by the Office for Students, the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council.

It includes:

  • Information and guidance about higher education
  • Information about courses
  • Information about providers

Find out more about the Unistats dataset on the Higher Education Statistics Agency website.