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Unit information: Philosophy, Social Theory and Geography in 2015/16

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Unit name Philosophy, Social Theory and Geography
Unit code GEOG25110
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Jackson
Open unit status Not open

All Geography Year 1 units



School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit situates the development of human geography within the broader tradition of social theory and relates current issues to wider debates centring on philosophies and sociologies of knowledge,materialism, politics and ethics, specifically, theories of interpretation, Marxism and critical theory,poststructuralism and neo-pragmatism, and feminist approaches to social scientific knowledge and social theory. The course will cover topics such as Realism, Pragmatism, Feminist Theory, Marxism and Critical Theory, Poststructuralism and Postmodernism. Typical authors studied typically include those relevant to contemporary cultural theory in geography and include, Marx, Irigary, Butler, Foucault, Derrida, Benjamin, Ranciere, Spivak, and Deleuze. In each case the aim will be to explore the implications of different philosophies and social theories for the understanding of space and research practice.

The aims of this Unit are:

To provide students with a philosophical and theoretical background to understand key debates in the social sciences in general and geography in particular.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this Unit students will be able to:

  • Engage in informed debate on key philosophical and methodological issues in geography and the social sciences in general

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

  • Written and verbal communication
  • Team working
  • Analytical skills

Teaching details

Lectures and Seminars

Assessment Details

1 x 2,000 word essay (50%) 1 x 2,500 word essay (50%)

Reading and References

  • Benton, T. and Craib, I. (2001) Philosophy of Social Science. Palgrave.
  • Delanty, G. (1997) Social Science: Beyond Constructivism and Realism. Open University Press.

No single book covers this course. Specific references will be attached to each lecture.