Module code: SOC1052

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the history and origins of the discipline of Sociology. Students gain an in-depth understanding of the historical conditions that allowed key theorists to start questioning and conceptualising the social world around them. Students will learn about these key theorists by exploring how they comprehensively attempted to explain how social order was maintained within the social world. We explore the work of Durkheim, Marx and Weber who, collectively, are often assigned the title of the ‘founding fathers’ of the discipline. Students learn about the differing conceptions of the social world so that, by the end of the module, they can employ three differing perspectives to understand the organisation and complexity of the social world. The overall aim is for students to understand three different approaches to conceptualising the social world and to appreciate the legacy in thought each approach has instilled in us as sociologists.

Module provider


Module Leader

SEAL Alexander (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module commences with the question of: what is sociology and what might sociology be used for? We then continue onto exploring how scientific and rational ways of thinking, born from the enlightenment period, gave birth to sociology and developed a perception that it could become the discipline that would act as a science of society. We then follow to spend two weeks on each thinker who came about through the enlightenment: Marx, Weber and Durkheim. For each thinker, we spend the first week exploring their vision for sociology and what sociology, as a discipline, can achieve. In the second week of each thinker, we explore their conception of society and how society achieves social order. At the end of the module, we revisit each thinker together through a feminist lens to explore how sociology (and social thinkers) evolved to discriminate against women and subordinate them in both research and academia.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

Both assessments are designed to showcase the students’ ability to understand social theory and to apply it to the contemporary world they live in. Both assignments allow the students the opportunity to assemble key concepts and ideas into a narrative for explaining how and why the social world exists as it does. The assignments therefore develop students’ critical lens for examining the social world and to understand their place in it through competing ideas.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Assessment One: Online video presentation (30%) – The video presentation allows students to assemble the concepts and ideas from our first thinker (Durkheim) and to use his conceptualisation of society to understand the response to the Covid-19 pandemic (LO4 and LO5). Students gain confidence in not just understanding social theory, but being able to articulate it on camera in a presentation format. Whilst this assessment has practical and transferable skills, it also helps develop their confidence in discussing social theory publicly.


Assessment Two: Essay (70%) – the essay allows students to develop their written skills for articulating conceptualisations of the social world. Students are allowed to choose one of our social thinkers from the module and to analyse the questions they were setting out to answer within the social world (LO2, LO3, LO5). Through this assignment, students learn to appraise the value and contribution from their chosen thinker and to convey this in a written format.


Formative assessment

Students participate in weekly tasks in the seminars that are based on case studies relating to the teaching content from the lecture. Students are given feedback by the module convenor within each seminar on the activities/case studies. Students are also deeply encouraged to speak to the module convenor weekly during their office hours. In addition to the dedicated assignment preparation sessions, students are well supported in all aspects of both summative and formative assessments.


Written narrative-led feedback is delivered for both summative assessments. In addition, the module convenor delivers group feedback within the seminars for the summative assessments. Students are also encouraged to make 1:1 appointments with the module convenor to discuss feedback on any formative or summative assessments within the module to enhance their learning and confidence.

Module aims

  • Start students to think sociologically about the world around them.
  • Equip students with an understanding of where Sociology came from and the conditions necessary for its birth
  • Develop students' knowledge of the core 'founding fathers' of the discipline: Marx, Weber, Durkheim and to understand their legacy of thought for Sociology today.
  • Help students begin to understand that the social world has considerably changed people's way of life through the industrial revolution.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 To develop students' sociological imaginations for conceptualising the social world. C
002 To develop students' understanding of conflict and consensus approaches to conceptualising the social world. KC
003 To develop students' knowledge on the founding theories and concepts that set the basis of our understanding of society. KC
004 To help students articulate complex theoretical ideas through presentation techniques. PT
005 To help students connect theory to practice. T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

The module is designed to introduce students to the key thinkers that set a legacy for how we, as sociologists, conceptualise the social world today. The seeds of these ideas then flourish in all further sociology modules as the students progress through their degree.

The weekly lectures equip students with the theoretical ideas of competing conceptualisations of the social world in order to explore key differences when looking at the same thing (society).

The seminars provide students with the time and space to unpack key concepts and ideas that comprise these theories through discussion both in small groups and group feedback with the seminar leader. Within the seminars, case studies of real-world events are used to help students apply the theory they have been taught in the lectures. Students can therefore relate theory to practice and vice versa.

The module also comprises two lectures and seminars dedicated to unpacking the assignment together. This allows students to approach their assignments with confidence. In addition to these sessions, the module convenor creates ‘assignment drop-in sessions’ where the students can speak with the module convenor, 1:1, about their plans and ideas. Students are highly encouraged to use these drop-in sessions.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC1052

Other information

The School of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: Through the authentic assessment of assessment one (video presentation), students gain a host of transferable skills for the workplace: verbal skills, presentation technique, and transparency of analytical thought. Assessment One will help students take something such as the pandemic (practice) and convey a deeper understanding of it through theory. In addition, assessment two (essay) allows students to write coherently and persuasively when outlining the value and contribution of social theory to our understanding of the social world. This is a key transferable skill for many graduate jobs.

Digital Capabilities: Students are required to engage with a wide range of digital platforms within the module. Most notably, students are required to utilise a presentation software package (e.g PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezzi, Canva) for the first assessment (video presentation). Students are also required, as part of assessment one, to use multiple online platforms for researching key aspects of the pandemic to present through Durkheim’s conceptualisation of the social world.

Global and cultural capabilities: Students quickly learn how western knowledge and science has become a dominant paradigm for conceptualising the social world. Students are confronted early in the module that western scientific knowledge has become an imperialist discourse around the world. Throughout the module, students see how the dominance of European enlightenment thought became the basis for conceptualising society. At different points in the module, we explore how religion can be viewed as a different paradigm of thought that might answer questions that sociology cannot. Students are therefore heavily introduced to how western scientific knowledge has had a privileged evolution.

Sustainability: Social sustainability is at the heart of this module. Each of the thinkers we analyse and examine all concerned themselves with the question of how society either protects or exploits its members. Students are therefore initiated into a range of different ways to understand the social sustainability within the social world. Students can leave the module with their own ideas and understandings into how society can best treat its members in order to achieve a harmonious social environment both physically and socially.

Resourcefulness and resilience: Students’ resourcefulness and resilience is deeply pursued through both summative assessments. In particular, the ability to present complex social theory through the covid-19 pandemic is a tool to build the confidence and ability for the students. Furthermore, the group discussions that are facilitated by the module convenor in the seminar are equally strong opportunities for students to develop their knowledge both peer-to-peer and through interactions with the module convenor.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.