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Unit information: Key Social Thinkers in 2020/21

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Unit name Key Social Thinkers
Unit code SOCI10006
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Skinner
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 discusses the contribution and continuing relevance of major sociological theorists of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries, such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, W.E.B. Du Bois and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.


  • To introduce the central ideas of some key founding thinkers in sociological theory.
  • To consider and debate what it means to be a sociological ‘classic’.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate good understanding of a range of classic sociological authors (1)
  • Utilise concepts of modernity, social structure, culture & ideology, and sociological ‘self-images’ in expositing the work of key social thinkers (2)
  • Develop their own considered views about the merits of the featured classics, and on the nature and significance of the sociological traditions more generally (3)

Teaching Information

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

Assessment Information

1500 word essay (25%) 2000 word essay (75%)

Reading and References

  • Calhoun, C., Classical Sociological Theory
  • Craib, I., Classical Social Theory
  • Fevre, R., and Bancroft, A., Dead White Men and Other Important People: sociology’s big ideas
  • Giddens, A., Capitalism And Modern Social Theory
  • McIntosh, I., Classical Sociological Theory: a reader
  • McLennan., G. Story of Sociology
  • Ritzer, G., Classical 'Sociological Theory