module specification

SS6055 - Political Sociology (2015/16)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2015/16
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Political Sociology
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Theory Assignment
Coursework 60%   Theory and Context Essay (2500 Words)
Running in 2015/16
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

The study of political sociology here involves an investigation of the interaction of political ideas, such as democracy, with social change. This interrelationship - between culture, economy, social structure, and political processes - will be studied using key theoretical approaches. The areas of specific study will be based around an investigation into the state, nationality, interest groups, new social movements, and power. These will be critically assessed in the context of an analysis of power and change. Students will look at different approaches such as structuralism, rational choice theory, political culture theory. Thus by the end of the module students should have an understanding of recent sociological explanations of political processes and events, a grasp of the competing approaches in the field, an understanding of the main methods of analysis.


Module aims

The module aims to:

1.  providestudents  with the analytical tools to understand some of the fundamental forces that have shaped, and are shaping, the world in which we live.
2.  givestudents  the opportunity to expand their knowledge of politics and society, and to build up special expertise in particular areas of interest such as power or new social movements.
3. givestudents the opportunity to develop their capacity for rigorous oral and written argument and a critical approach to sociological issues from a political vantage point.
4.  consider alternative explanations for important social and political developments, using perspectives from political sociology that are not found elsewhere in the sociology course.


1. Theories of the State and Power
2. Marxism, Anarchism and Elite Theory
3. Pluralism, Bureaucracy and neo-pluralism
4. New Social Movements

Learning and teaching

Key issues will be introduced through lectures. Students will then discuss and unpack these issues in seminars in small groups. Weblearn and blended learning resources will also be used extensively. 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

1.  Compare different political sociological perspectives
2. Explain social power in everyday interaction of social life
3. Compare and contrast power relations between various social cleavages, institutions, and the state
4. Explain the importance of the struggles, achievements and failures of interest groups and new social movements

Assessment strategy

1. An essay that looks at the political and social theory that students have been introduced to at this stage of the module.
2. An essay that requires students to use theory to evaluate a particular question around the issues of the state and society that has been studied on the module


R Dalton, Citizen Politics, 3rd edn (2002)
K. Faulks, Political Sociology: A critical introduction (2000)
M. Drake, Political Sociology for a Globalised World (2010)
G. Taylor, The New Political sociology (2010)
S. Lukes, Power (2004)
S. Clegg, Frameworks of Power (1989)
S.Isaacs, C. Sparks, Political Theory in Context (2005)