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2013/2014  BA-6TCS  Theories of Contemporary Society II

English Title
Theories of Contemporary Society II

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Quarter
Course period Third Quarter
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Business Administration and Sociology
Course coordinator
  • Christian Borch - MPP
Main academic disciplines
  • Political Science
  • Economic and organizational sociology
Last updated on 14-08-2013
Learning objectives
On successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:
  • identify, analyse and assess at an advanced level the central assumptions of the theories covered in the curriculum,
  • identify, analyse and assess the core similarities and differences in how social processes and network creation are thematised in the theories covered in the curriculum.
Course prerequisites
The courses 6TCS Theories of Contemporary Society and 6QNM Quantitative Methods 2 have one intergrated exam. The exam is 15 ECTS. You can only participate in 6TCS Theories of Contemporary Society if you also register for the course: 6QNM Quantitative Methods 2.
Students conference on quantitative methodology in the analysis of contemporary society:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 2 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
30 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale Pass / Fail
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Spring Term
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Closed Book
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The student conference is based on the format of a scientific conference and consists of three elements: 1) a written abstract, 2) an oral presentation, and 3) a discussion initiated by a fellow student, in which the examiners also participate.
The examiners will prepare one or more topics to be analysed by the students. Each student must submit an abstract at a fixed deadline prior to the conference, prepare an oral presentation and act as a discussant for a fellow student. The grading is based on a total assessment of all three elements.
The students are required to be present during the whole session, in which they give their presentation.
More detailed guidelines for the conference exam format will be made available on e-campus when the courses commence.

Learning objectives for the exam
During the students conference, the student must demonstrate that (s)he:

  • has achieved the learning objectives for the courses ‘Theories of Contemporary Society II’ and ‘Quantitative Methods II’ (see under 'Further Information')
  • is able to present a scholarly problem in a coherent fashion, accessible to an audience of peers
  • can deliver an oral presentation on a scholarly topic, adjusted to the allotted timeframe, and
  • can participate in a scholarly debate, providing qualified feed-back to the presentation of his/her peers.
Course content and structure
Aim of the course
The aim of this course is that the student acquires knowledge of the most important ways to conceptualise and examine the interactions between individuals, organisations and society, which are currently developing in social theory. Particular attention is devoted to diagnoses, which emphasise the linguistic and discursive construction of social reality.

Through the course, the student should acquire knowledge about how the complex interactions between individuals, businesses and public organisations enable and facilitate new modes of organisation and organisational change in the highly dynamic social settings of contemporary societies. Furthermore, the student should be able to discuss continuities and ruptures in these approaches compared to previous modes of social theorising.

On successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:
  • identify, analyse and assess at an advanced level the central assumptions of the theories covered in the curriculum,
  • identify, analyse and assess the core similarities and differences in how social processes are thematised in the theories covered in the curriculum.


Course description
It is widely acknowledged that modern society has undergone a series of profound transformations since World War II. The media landscape has changed, so have production patterns, modes of organization, networks of communication, etc., etc. While most sociologists would agree that much has changed during the past 50–60 years, there is little agreement as to how to theorize these transformations and their implications. The aim of this course is to make students acquainted with a range of influential positions that analyze how modern society has changed throughout the (end of the) twentieth century.
While the course builds on TCS I, the theoretical perspectives it presents tend to aim more at a diagnosis of the present than at formulating grand theories of modern society and all its spheres, systems or institutions. Although the theoretical ambitions of the perspectives under scrutiny here may thus be lower than was the case in TCS I, their analytical capacities may well be higher. The more targeted observations of specific societal trends and dynamics allow for more thorough discussions of key societal processes and their social, political and economic implications.
The diagnostic emphasis entails that the course is preoccupied with a processual view, i.e. with the changes that have taken place in the structure of modern society in the second half of the twentieth century. These societal processes will be discussed with respect to their social, political and economic implications. The course is organized thematically.

Please note that in order to keep the costs of this compendium down, a number of articles which are accessible online have not been included in the compendium. Links to these texts will be made available on the course’s Learn site.
Teaching methods
Teaching will consist of lectures, supplemented by brief student presentations (in groups of 3–5 people). In these presentations, which may be seen as a kind of exercise before the student conference, students should critique the texts under discussion (what do they see as the key analytical strengths and weaknesses of the texts?). Students will be assigned presentations during the first session and are encouraged to consider in advance with whom they would like to form groups.
Last updated on 14-08-2013