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Unit information: East Asian Societies: Alternative Modernities in 2021/22

Unit name East Asian Societies: Alternative Modernities
Unit code SOCI20076
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Yamashita
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit is a survey of social, cultural and political patterns in the East Asian societies of Greater China, Japan and Korea. Emphasis is on the shared traditions that define East Asia as a region, and its component societies with the forces associated with cultural, social and political “globalization” historically and during recent decades, and on the particular characteristics of each society. The study of East Asian society provides a unique opportunity to explore differences in the construction and articulation of key social divisions between countries and regions, as well as compare and critically examine existing conceptualizations of them. Going beyond dichotomies of East and West, traditional and modern, this course will examine sociological issues from a theoretically informed and comparative perspective among East Asia and between East Asia and Europe.

The unit aims to:

  • Introduce students to a body of analytical knowledge about different social systems, norms and social institutions in East Asia, with additional reference to socio-economic contexts and history;
  • Provide students with a deepened understanding of regional social, demographical, cultural characteristics in comparison with Western counterparts.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate understanding of regional, social, demographical, cultural characteristics of East Asia in comparison with European societies
  2. with reference to East Asia, be familiar with the ways in which different social systems, norms and social institutions are affected socio-economic contexts and history;
  3. demonstrate understanding of how the social norms, systems and institutions identified in East Asia have a wider international relevance;
  4. collect, analyse and interpret secondary data and literature on East Asian societies.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

Formative: 1500 word essay

Summative: 3000 word essay (100%)

Both assessments assess all learning outcomes.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SOCI20076).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.