module specification

SS6002 - Living Theory (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Living Theory
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
210 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay
Coursework 50%   Essay
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Morning

Module summary

 This module will provide students with an opportunity to engage with contemporary thinkers and debates in social theory. They will be required to critically examine the ideas of contemporary social theorists and explore the application of their ideas to an ever-changing world (LO1; LO2). The module will explore what it means to be human and examine how different perspectives on this impact upon a range of issues, from state policies to the development of artificial intelligence. Overall, the aim of the module is to develop the students’ capacity to utilise theoretical ideas taken from philosophy and sociological theory by applying them to the social world (LO3; LO4).


• Theory, theorisation and theories – the role of theory in the social sciences and sociology. Lo1
• Reading theory - developing an understanding and strategies for textual analysis. LO1
• Key debates – classical and neo-classical theory revisited. LO1
• Writing Theory - writing up complex ideas and communicating difficult concepts. LO3, LO4
• Applying theory - a case study approach. LO2, LO4
• New directions and debates – contemporary and topical issues in social theory. LO1
• Making Theory - developing theories that ‘work’. LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The teaching and learning strategy for this module is intended to stimulate the student’s interest in and knowledge of contemporary social theory. Delivery is through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies and workshops allowing students to be actively involved in the learning process and develop their own learning style. The lecture programme provides the underpinning theoretical foundation in the subject area and thinking skills are developed through complementary activities including case studies, workshops, seminars and tutorials. Examples of how different theories of being human might impact upon state policies or the development of technological systems (including expert systems and artificial intelligence) provides thought-provoking debates which engage students.  Students are expected to complement formal teaching with self-directed reading and completion of specified assignments. The module will also promote the student’s self-management and a reflective approach to their learning. Teaching and learning is integrated with the assessment and in accordance with the university’s learning and teaching strategy. Students will also be given opportunities to use appropriate resources and technology available

Learning outcomes

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

LO1 – describe a range of contemporary issues in advanced social theory.

LO2 – apply a range of criticism to advanced social theory –thereby reflecting their ability to think critically.

LO3 – produce and effectively communicate a detailed analysis of an advanced social theory text.

LO4 – appraise advanced social theories and concepts in relation to their application to ‘real world’ situations.

Assessment strategy

 The assessment to be used in this module has been chosen to test the specified learning outcomes and to support students’ different learning styles. Students are to be assessed through (1) an essay – designed to assess reading and interpretation of theory (50%) 3000 words; (2) an essay – designed to assess their ability to apply theory (50%) 3000 words.


 Core Reading
Callinicos, A. (2007) Social Theory: a historical introduction, Polity.
Jones, P. Bradbury, L. and Le Boutillier, S. (2011) Introducing Social Theory, Polity.
May, T. and Powell, J. L. (2008) Situating Social Theory. London: Open University Press.
Ritzer, G and Stepnisky, J. (2014) Sociological  Theory, McGraw-Hill.

Additional Reading
Cheal, D. (2005) Dimensions of Sociological Theory, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Dreyfus, H.L. and Rabinow, P. (2016) Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. London: Routledge.
Heidegger, M. (2008) Being and Time. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
Hurst, C. (2005) Living Theory, 2nd Edn., Pearson.
Law, A. (2015) Social Theory for Today: Making Sense of Social Worlds. London: Sage.
Roberts, B (2006) Micro Social Theory, Palgrave.
Turner, J. (2013) Theoretical Sociology: 1830 to the present. London: Sage.
Turner, J.H., Beeghley, L. and Powers, C.H. (2012) The Emergence of Sociological Theory. London: Sage.
Wallace, R. & Wolf, A. (2006) Contemporary Sociological Theory, Pearson.
Wittgenstein, L. (2009) Philosophical Investigations. London: Wiley-Blackwell.