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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP2180 The Sociology of Culture

20 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Dr Austin Harrington

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

At least 20 credits at Level 1 from a social science related discipline or the appropriate discovery theme.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces theories, problems, debates and case issues in the analysis of culture in sociology. Our goal is to address challenges of defining culture and to apply appropriate explanatory theories to diverse contexts of empirical cultural phenomena in social life. Central topics include: social class & culture; high/low divides in culture; artistic production & art markets; modern & postmodern aesthetics; power, the state & cultural politics; discourse and representation; culture and religion/new cultures of belief and unbelief; tourism and the heritage industries; urbanism and culture.


On completion of this module, students should be able to ...
- To introduce theories, problems, debates and case issues in the analysis of culture in sociology
- To address challenges of defining culture and to investigate its empirical manifestations in different spheres, sites and dimensions of social life
- To examine dimensions of gender, ethnicity and global power in the production of culture
- To apply and develop general sociological analytical skills

Learning outcomes
- Grasp of the concept of culture in its numerous contested meanings
- Ability to apply explanatory and interpretive theories to empirical contexts of cultural phenomena and to test the quality of existing theories by reference to available knowledge of these phenomena

Skills outcomes
Oral and written presentation skills, research skills, IT skills.


Lectures will cover the following areas:

- Theories of culture
- Cultural studies, cultural sociology, post-Marxism
- Power and culture, hegemony, ideology, discourse, representation
- Class, gender, ethnicity, race, colonialism and culture
- High/low culture divides: pop, post-industrialism/new middle class/subcultures
- Fine art: production and socio-economic structures
- Sociology of art and literature: markets, publics, patrons and the state
- Aesthetics: modernism, postmodernism and beyond
- Culture and religion: secularization debate; cultures of belif and unbelief
- Tourism and the heritage of industries
- Urbanism and culture

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning111.0011.00
Private study hours168.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

168 hours made up of 100 hours preparation for learning and tutorials, including the writing of tutorial contributions and 68 hours of preparation for the writing of the essay.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution in tutorials

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,500 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 27/07/2023


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