Singapore University of Social Sciences

Contemporary Sociological Theories

Contemporary Sociological Theories (SOC401)

Applications Open: To be confirmed

Applications Close: To be confirmed

Next Available Intake: To be confirmed

Course Types: To be confirmed

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: To be confirmed

Area of Interest: Business Administration, International Trade, Science and Technology

Schemes: To be confirmed

Funding: To be confirmed

School/Department: School of Humanities & Behavioural Sciences


Contemporary Sociological Theories builds upon the foundations laid by classical social theory and maps out the field of contemporary social theory. Beyond surveying the ideas and perspectives that major social theorists have developed in response to the transformation of contemporary society, the course focuses on key contribution that have influenced the development of sociology in recent decades. The approaches to be examined include structural-functionalism, interpretive sociology, critical theory, contemporary feminist theory, poststructuralism, postmodernism, globalization theories and contemporary theoretical syntheses of structural and interpretive approaches. In exploring the nature and status of these theories, the epistemological legacies of positivism, interpretivism and discourse are critically reviewed in the light of the advent of postindustrial, postmodern and post-Cold War era in the late twentieth century and the early twenty-first century. As a way of linking the various contemporary theoretical contributions, this course will also consider the theme of “agency” and “structure”. How and to what extent does society shape the lives of human beings – and vice versa? Finally, this course is mounted for Honours students with a classical sociological background.

Level: 4
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July


  • Introduction to Contemporary Sociological Theory; Structural-functionalism
  • Interpretive Sociology: Phenomenology, Symbolic Interactionism and Dramaturgy
  • Critical Theory: The Frankfurt School
  • Contemporary Feminist Theory; Post-structuralism and postmodernism
  • Contemporary Theoretical Syntheses: The Works of Pierre Bourdieu and Anthony Giddens
  • The Global Society: Theories of Globalization

Learning Outcome

  • Critique the core ideas and concepts of the major theorists/traditions in contemporary sociological theory
  • Construct the key traditions/standpoints relevant to contemporary sociological theory
  • Compose a picture of the various ontological and epistemological positions taken in contemporary sociological theory
  • Assess the various classical theoretical influences in the works of major contemporary social theorists
  • Evaluate the central concerns of agency and structure in the theorizing of social phenomena in sociology
  • Analyze contemporary social phenomena using the various contemporary theoretical positions
  • Analyze large scale structural and/or micro processes of social institutions/actors and practices
  • Discuss original theoretical works
  • Compare the merits and limitations of different contemporary theoretical approaches
  • Prepare an argument, to include the ways in which sociologists incorporate and acknowledge the ideas of other writers
  • Develop a theoretical insight and critical analysis of large scale structural and/or micro processes of social institutions/actors and practices
Back to top
Back to top