European Culture & Thought


EUROG005 - Social Theory

Value: 30 credits
Term: Term 1
Tutor: Dr Kevin Inston
Teaching structure:
One assessed 6000 word essay/project (100%)

Module Description:

This module examines the development of modern social theory by looking in detail at the ideas of European thinkers such as Rousseau, Marx, Freud, Lévi-Strauss, and Laclau and Mouffe.

It investigates how these thinkers conceived of society and social change, exploring themes such as inequality, historical materialism and capitalism, civilisation and taboo, cultural diversity, the subject and the social, and democracy. It also explores the methodological and philosophical premises of social theory.

Preparatory reading:

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses
  • D. McLellan (ed.), Karl Marx: Selected Writings
  • Sigmund Freud, Civilisation and its Discontents
  • Claude Lévi-Strauss, extracts from The Elementary Structures of Kinship, Race and history and ‘Introduction to Marcel Mauss’.*
  • Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy
  • Ernesto Laclau, Emancipation(s)

*Extracts will be made available.

For any advice about the reading, please contact Dr Kevin Inston

Please note: This module description is accurate at the time of publication. Minor amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.