Studying the Social: Contemporary Approaches in Sociology and Anthropology

Course code SOCA3500
Not available in 2017


The course is concerned with contemporary social theory and especially with how contemporary sociologists and anthropologists study the social. It is therefore both theoretical and methodological in orientation. In the first part of the course, students are introduced to a number of current social theorists. This is to consolidate and extend the work done in SOCS2200 and other SOCA courses. The second part of the course concentrates on issues of method and methodology and especially on the various methods contemporary sociologists and anthropologists mobilize to study the social. This necessarily involves a confrontation with how new approaches to studying the social have opened out fresh debates regarding the role of ontology, epistemology and ethics for the definition and status of the social sciences as a whole.


Not currently available.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2015.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. An engagement with and understanding of a number of contemporary social theorists.

2. An awareness of the way in which debates in the social sciences concern contestation over the roles of ontology, epistemology and ethics in terms of the status and definition of the social sciences as a whole.

3. An understanding of the foundations of key methods used in contemporary sociology and anthropology.

4. An ability to present and critically reflect upon different theoretical approaches in the social sciences in an essay format and through class discussion.


  • Contemporary theorists of the social sciences
  • Debates about ontology, epistemology and ethics in the social sciences
  • Key methods for studying the contemporary social

Assumed Knowledge

SOCA1010, SOCA1020; SOCS2200

Assessment Items

Written Assignment: Written Assignment 1 Essay

Written Assignment: Written Assignment 2 Concepts

Quiz: On Line Quiz

Contact Hours