Modern Sociological Theory

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

On completion of the module, students 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. 

Through preparing for and attending lectures, participating in seminars and producing written assessments, students will develop their skills in independent study, critical evaluation of texts and ideas, oral presentation, critical discussion and writing.


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