Modern Sociological Theory

School: School of Government and Society
Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies

Second year module

Lecturer: Dr Will Legget

This module introduces the central ideas of key thinkers in the sociological tradition, as they sought to understand the development of modern industrial societies from the nineteenth century to the 1970s. 

The module opens with a detailed survey of the three 'founding' thinkers of modern sociology - Marx, Durkheim and Weber, and moves on to later generations of theorists who conceived of modern societies in terms of systems, the micro or everyday level, conflict and consensus. The subsequent turning of modern sociological theory against itself, and the emergence of postmodernism, is the starting point for the Level 3 core module, Contemporary Social Theory.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to identify, compare and critically assess the theoretical approach, substantive analyses and implications of the work of key sociological theorists in this period.


  • Term One: 1 essay x 3,000 word assessed work (50%)
  • Term Three: 3 hour examination (50%)

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.