Search icon

Sociology Module Outlines

Introduction to Sociology

This module aims to introduce students to the subject matter of contemporary sociology. It will familiarise students with the key concepts used within sociological analysis and demonstrate, using illustrative materials, the uses and continued importance of sociological analysis in the modern and post-modern world.

Introduction to Sociology 2

This module aims to better acquaint students with the discipline and field of sociology, including the work of contemporary sociologists, and to provide them with strong foundation of knowledge in preparation for further sociology modules. In addition to enhancing student’s awareness and understanding of key sociological theories, concepts and issues, this module is oriented to developing students’ ability to use sociology as an analytical tool. Finally, this module also seeks to promote valuable skills in critical thinking, writing, referencing, and research.  Key themes addressed in this module include:

  • Social Class & Class Inequality
  • Racism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism
  • Gender, Sexuality & The Body

The Sociology of Health & Illness

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the important sub-disciplinary field of the sociology of health and illness. The overall objective is to develop the students’ analytical ability to examine the concepts of health and illness from a sociological perspective (perspectives), and critique the structures and processes involved in these within late modern Western society.

Sociology of Media

This module aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the mass media from a sociological viewpoint. It will introduce students to key aspects of the debate amongst social scientists about the workings and influence of the media. The course is structured upon an examination of these key areas as well as presenting examples of the various methodological approaches used by sociologists in their analysis of the mass media.
Key themes addressed in this module include:

  • Media Audiences
  • Media Representations of The Social World
  • Media Power
  • Citizen Journalism

Sociology of Media Audiences

The module is built around a number of key issues and concerns that exist around studying media audiences and will address the significant theories and debates on media audiences. Emphasis will also be placed on the development of practical audience research skills which students will be asked to demonstrate and apply to the tasks outlined in their course assignments.

Introduction to Social Research Methods

This module provides an introduction to the fundamentals of social research by comparing the approaches of several different research methods. Focusing on research design, data-collection, data analysis, and the ethics of research, the course explores the strengths and weaknesses of the different methods. The ultimate goal of the course is for students to be to be able to conceptualise and design their own research project.

Classical Sociological Theory

This module examines a range of key themes within classic sociological theory (e.g. Mark, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Schutz, Mead). It will focus on different analyses of the development of capitalism and the money economy; the division of labour; social solidarity; rationalisation; religious and mental life; conflict and consensus; economic interests and ideologies; understanding and explaining society in its multi-dimensional and layered complexity; theorising human agency and interaction.

Contemporary Sociological Theory

This module is based on a selection of modern and contemporary sociological theories following on from the Classic Sociological Theory course in order to show how sociology has
developed to reflect changing social and intellectual contexts. The module examines how selected theories draw on, modify or radically alter key classical presuppositions about the nature and scope of sociological inquiry in understanding the social world. As a way of elucidating these issues, substantive topics will be discussed in relation to the different theoretical perspectives.

Gender: Sociological Approaches

This module equips students with a critical understanding of key concepts in gender studies and feminist thought and how these are informed by, and inform, sociological enquiry. It offers in introduction to the main sociological perspectives on gender; key debates in feminist theory; debates in the study of masculinity; and perspectives of substantive topics such as work and care in the context of these frameworks. The module also examines the operation of gender divisions across national and transnational social contexts and their articulation with other major social divisions such as class, sexuality, ethnicity and ‘race’.

The Sociology of Globalisation

This module examines Globalisation from a Sociological standpoint.  Key themes include: Globalisation, transnational processes and the world of the twenty-first century; Global cultures and practices of consumption; Global risk society: impact and effects; Globalisation and contemporary urban cultures; Globalisation and religion; Gender, development and international women’s movements; Global changes and women’s lives and work; Globalisation, technology and the media;Sociology of globalisation and cyber-space.

Quantitative Research methods for Sociological Research

This module provides a systematic introduction to quantitative approaches to data collection and analysis in sociology. The course focuses both on the theoretical and methodological implication of quantitative methods, and on the practical skills required for the collection, processing, statistical analysis and presentation of quantitative data, including the use of statistical software packages such as SPSS.

Qualitative Methods for Sociological Research

This module introduces students to Qualitative Research Methods.  It asks: What is qualitative research?  What are the different paradigms, which fall within the parameters of qualitative research? It examines the history of qualitative research. Approaching research from a qualitative perspective, generating ideas, defining cases, analysis and interpretation. Doing interviews and conducting observation studies.

Sociology of Work

The course will introduce theories of social change and perspectives on work as well as examining contemporary changes in work practice.  The effects of class, gender and ethnicity on access to and experience of work will be examined.  The changing organizational context of work will be explored. Other themes include sectoral decline, development and relocation as well as an examination of globalization and the rise of the transnational corporation. The continuance of hierarchical and vertical segregation in the midst of organisational, societal and cultural change will be explored, as well as organisational culture. A number of Irish case studies will be examined e.g those related to the semi-state and educational sectors. The course concludes with a consideration of the future direction of socioeconomic change and its impact on the distribution, structuring and experience of work.

Sociology of the Welfare State

This module aims toprovide students with an understanding of the welfare state. Students will be familiarised with debates, definitions and theoretical frameworks pertaining to the concept of the welfare state, the different models of welfare in existence, and the need for a rigorous analysis of the welfare state. Specifically the module will focus on the Irish context as it seeks to examine the structural, cultural and ideological dynamics underpinning the Irish model of welfare provision.

The Sociology of Gender and Popular Culture

Focusing on Sociological understandings of Popular Culture this module’s key themes include Feminist perspectives and the pornography/erotica debate; feminism, pleasure and power; Mulvey and visual culture; psychoanalytic and French feminist perspectives; the high culture/ pop culture debate; the Frankfurt school; Bourdieu and culture; post-structuralist perspectives; cyborg feminisms and technological culture; Queer theory and popular culture; nationalism, transnational feminisms and representation.

Sociological Approaches to Gender and Multiculturalism

This module examines theoretical approaches to multiculturalism and how different multicultural approaches construct cultural difference in gendered ways; it offers a comparative approach by considering different gendered cultural practices and different national approaches to multiculturalism; it offers a framework for understanding how gender relations affect and are affected by multicultural strategies for negotiating difference.

The Sociology of Mental Health and Illness*

This module introduces students to a selection of classical modern and contemporary sociological theories on the contested meaning of mental illness and the broader social impact of psychiatric ideas and practices. Students are also introduced to key ideas within the philosophical and politics debates within psychiatry, which have a strong resonance with different sociological critiques. The challenges posed by the mental health service/survivor movement will also be addressed, as well as sociological accounts of this new and emerging social movement.
*Elective Modules are run subject to the availability of faculty

Sociology of Religion*

This module addresses  the relationships between modernity’s and religion by: Considering religion in the work of Marx, Weber, Durkheim and Simmel as a basis for investigating the relevance of their work at the start of the twenty-first century; exploring the focus on religion’s integrative function in the work of American sociologists such as Parsons and Berger’s work on pluralisation and secularisation, and Warner’s rational choice theory; examining secularisation theory and process with reference to contemporary debates about post-secular society and global modernity; applying these debates to substantive questions relating to gender, sexuality, migration, globalisation and religion.

 *Elective Modules are run subject to the availability of faculty

Sociology of the Internet*

This module engages students with sociological debates, theory and research regarding the social impact of and social influences on the Internet. In doing so, students will become acquainted with both macro and micro sociological perspectives on the Internet, including conceptualizations of the internet; identity and community online; e-participation and digital exclusion. Through these discussions students will also become familiar with new methods emerging from Internet research.

*Elective Modules are run subject to the availability of faculty

Sociology of Youth*

Introduction to Sociology of Youth; Competing Paradigms – the structural/cultural divide; New Youth-Transitions – education, work, uncertain futures; Constructing Deviance – young people in media discourse; Social Exclusion, Privilege and Youth; Hegemonic and non-hegemonic Masculinities;  Doing boy/doing girl; Existence of gender differentiated cultures? Youth in Private Spaces – the family and the home- gendered realities? Youth in Public Spaces – class, community and visibility-gendered realities?; Re/producing and Regulating Gendered Identities – young people and schooling; Consuming Youth –cultural expressions and practices; New Approaches to Youth Research.

*Elective Modules are run subject to the availability of faculty

The Sociology of the Body*

This module examines social theory and the body; the obesity debate; disordered eating; cosmetic surgery; sport, physical activity and fitness; bodybuilding and drug-taking; tattooing; piercing; working bodies; sexualities; virtual bodies and cultures of technological embodiment (cyborgs); ageing; disability, chronic illness and healthcare; death and dying; embodied ethnography.

*Elective Modules are run subject to the availability of faculty

Sociology of Power: The Relational and Practice*

This module centrally addresses one of the abiding and core concerns of sociology that is, the nature of social order, and the most appropriate methods to get at this phenomenon.  Sociologists have long debated the micro/macro binary and yet it offers sociology students the prime possibility of engaging in an intensive logical exploration and elucidation of key sites that are hugely problematic.  Bourdieu’ theory of practice will be used to explore and elucidate key issues and concerns.

*Elective Modules are run subject to the availability of faculty

The Sociology of Higher Education*

Nature and purpose of higher education; processes impacting on it including globalisation, massification; managerialism and masculinisation; policies related to it in Ireland; relationship with the state and the economy; feminisation at student level but continuing masculinisation at senior academic level; student’s class background and issues surrounding access; issues related to managerialism versus collegiality; career paths; organisational culture; leadership styles; the factors explaining such variation; the international context; similarities and differences between universities and other higher educational institutions; the future of higher education. *Elective Modules are run subject to the availability of faculty

Social Trends and Sociological Research*

This course applies students’ existing theoretical knowledge to contemporary society and social change, focusing on themes such as changing gender roles, the life course, inequality, the labour market, and values and attitudes, using a variety of existing data sources to address key issues, enhancing data-analytic skills and enabling students to develop a critical, theoretically- and empirically-grounded sociological insight into contemporary life.

*Elective Modules are run subject to the availability of faculty

Inequality and Social Exclusion

The aim of the module is to provide students with a conceptual and operational understanding of the dynamics of inequality and social exclusion. It introduces students to the central approaches to measuring inequality and social exclusion and the implications of that diversity. A key focus is on the relationships between poverty, inequality and social exclusion. The module explores the continued significance of class, gender and ‘racial’ / ethnic divisions as bases for both social exclusion and inequality. Specifically the module focuses on the Irish context as it examines the implications of inequality & exclusion, the structural, cultural and ideological issues underlying these phenomenon and their reproduction, and the resultant implications for individuals and groups within Irish Society. Additionally it examines the social construction of social exclusion with particular reference to media discourses about those who are excluded.

The Sociology of Love and its Dark Side

This module examines the different aspects of relationships: love, friendship, partner selection and dating, non-marital lifestyles, marriage, reproduction and forms of parenting. A key component of the course is the influence of changing work patterns, power relations and gender roles on family forms. The objectives of this module are:
To introduce students to the sociological perspective as it applies to the understanding of relationships and familial phenomena.
To present various sociological theories regarding love, sexual relationships, marriage and family systems.
To familiarise students with the results of empirical research of social scientists who study partnership formation and family behaviour.