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Unit information: Classics of Modern Cultural Theory in 2015/16

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Unit name Classics of Modern Cultural Theory
Unit code SPAIM0035
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Thomas Osborne
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 presents some of the principal perspectives of theory and research in modern Cultural Theory through close attention to classic texts in the discipline. As such it aims to introduce students to the main problems and debates that have structured modern Cultural Theory as well as to the thought of leading European founders and proponents of the discipline such as Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, Mikhail Bakhtin and Roland Barthes. The unit is intended as a core learning resource from which students can gravitate to further issues and perspectives within contemporary Cultural Theory, cultural sociology and cultural policy and research.

The unit aims are: 1) to present the concept of culture in the key texts of modern Cultural Theory 2) to introduce students to key thinkers and texts within modern Cultural Theory and 3) to present the key areas of debate and controversy in the discipline.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

    1. Demonstrate understanding of key texts in the formation of modern Cultural Theory
    2. Assess the varied uses of the concept of culture in modern Cultural Theory
    3. Critically engage with the main traditions, debates and controversies in modern Cultural Theory

Teaching Information

one two-hour seminar per week

Assessment Information

There will be a) an optional 1500 formative assessment in the form of an essay or equivalent assignment, plus b) summative assessment in the form of a 4000 word essay. These assess all learning outcomes.

Reading and References

Edgar, A. Cultural Theory, Routledge, 2011 Harrington, A. Art and Social Theory, Polity, 2008 Osborne, T. The Structure of Modern Cultural Theory, UCL Press, 2008 Smith, P. and A. Riley, Cultural Theory: an introduction, Routledge 2011 Wake, P, and S. Malpas, The Routledge Companion to Critical and Cultural Theory, Routledge 2011