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Understanding the Modern World

2014 unit code: SOC10007 (formerly LSS101)

Please note that unit codes have changed from 2014.
Credit points12.5 Credit Points
DurationOne Semester
Contact hours36 hours over the semester, normally 3 hours per week

Related course(s)

Formerly known as LSS200 Difference, Deviance and Conformity.
NB: From Semester 1 2014, this unit will not be available and will be replaced by HAS120 Understanding the Modern World.


Aims and objectives

This unit is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the social worlds in which they live and work. It provides a historical overview of the evolution of societies and examines the variety of cultural and institutional practices evident around the globe. The key features and central dynamics of modern societies are explored, and students are introduced to the sociological perpsective on human beings and their social creations.

On completion of this unit students should be able to:
• identify the key features of contemporary societies
• analyse the dynamics transforming social relations
• think critically about the historical forces shaping and reshaping social life

Teaching methods

Units will be taught in a variety of modes including face to face, online, distance and blended modes. Delivery of this unit may be through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, laboratories, seminars and online.


Essays 40 - 50%
Assignments 20 - 30%
Test 20 - 30%
Participation 0 - 10%

Generic skills outcomes

This unit will provide discipline-based knowledge and professional capabilities and experiences contributing to students’ progress in attaining generic skills such as:
• Analysis skills developed through essays, reflective journals and film reviews requiring critical thinking
• Communication skills developed through written and oral presentations
• Ability to work independently developed through library research


Topics may include:
• types of society and varieties of cultures
• society, culture, subcultures
• modernisation
• industrialisation and urbanisation
• democracy and totalitarianism
• science
• consumption and commodification
• women’s movement
• agency
• rationalisation
• individualisation
• globalisation
• multiple modernities
• sociological diagnoses of the present: alienation, sickness of infinity, the iron cage

Text books

Macionis, J.J, & Plummer, K , 2011, Sociology: A Global Introduction, 5h edn, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow. UK.