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2024/2025  BA-BSOCO2022U  Theories of Modern Society

English Title
Theories of Modern Society

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Business Administration and Sociology
Course coordinator
  • Anders Sevelsted - Department of Business Humanities and Law (BHL)
  • Christoph Houman Ellersgaard - Department of Organization (IOA)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organisation
  • Political leadership and public management
  • Sociology
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 09-02-2024

Relevant links

Learning objectives
On successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:
  • Demonstrate understanding of modern sociological theory based on a careful reading of course material.
  • Apply key concepts of the course material in order to identify and analyse central developments in modern society and the prospects and challenges they pose for public, private and/or civil society organisations.
  • Show the analytical implications of applying different theoretical perspectives with different assumptions about modern society.
  • Write an analytical essay with a clear structure and argument, including correct citation and referencing of literature.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see section 13 of the Programme Regulations): 1
Compulsory home assignments
Students have to prepare a compulsory group presentation during the course. It takes the form of a brief presentation to the class. The topics are allocated by the lecturers – typically an exam question from previous years. Each topic will address a specific theoretical bloc of the course. As far as possible, the presentations will be spread over the course, making them a recurring element of the learning process.
Theories of Modern Society:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Essay
Release of assignment The Assignment is released in Digital Exam (DE) at exam start
Duration 72 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The exam is designed to test students' understanding of key concepts, their ability to apply these concepts, their ability to reflect on and compare theoretical perspectives of the course, as well as their ability to structure an essayistic argument in an academic fashion. 


Students are presented with three different cases. They are expected to choose one case and analyse it, using one or more theoretical perspectives from the course curriculum.


The essay is graded according to the fulfillment of the learning criteria. 

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Modern society presents a unique environment to private, public, and third sector organisations. Increasingly, established social hierarchies are challenged, leading to new forms of freedom and domination, just as earlier power relations continue to be in effect under new conditions. Simultaneously, different spheres in society – science, politics, art, education, religion – seem to become increasingly autonomous and increasingly intertwined.

Unlike many other disciplines, sociology has not established a dominant paradigm for understanding these developments and the social, human, and other challenges they raise. Instead, the most influential sociological theorists rely on very different basic assumptions and methodological approaches to understand modern society.

This course introduces five key sociological theorists that have had lasting influence on sociology and its many sub-disciplines. During the course, we will uncover the basic assumptions, key concepts, and central arguments of the theorists. We will focus on ways that these perspectives have been applied to fields relevant to private, public, and third sector organisations, and more broadly examine how the theories shed important light on changing constellations of economic, political, and social actors as well as on the social, human, and other consequences of their activities. Students will have the opportunity to apply the theoretical perspectives to contemporary cases in a collaborative manner. Throughout the course, we will focus on how the authors theorise the stratification and differentiation of modern society.

The course builds on the theories that were introduced during Fundamentals of Social Theory.

Description of the teaching methods
The course consists of three types of sessions for each theory that is introduced: Lectures, examples of empirical application and/or further theoretical developments, and workshops focused on the students’ active appropriation of the theory.

Lectures are focused on understanding, application, and reflection. Workshops will be focused on application. A final workshop will focus on comparing the perspectives introduced during the course. To ensure engagement, students are expected to do short presentations of their work during the course.
Feedback during the teaching period
The course is designed to enable continuous feedback. Students are expected to hand in small assignments after each lecture and short oral presentations. They will in turn receive collective feedback on assignments and presentations.

During workshops, groups are encouraged to ask questions and present their work, on which they will then have the opportunity to receive feedback as they work with applying the concepts of the lectures to a case.

Students have access to 5 multiple choice quizzes at CBS Canvas, which provide feedback to each answer option.

All groups are offered supervision at prearranged timeslots. These timeslots are set in the office hours. The slots are distributed by the teacher and it is optional for the students to use the offer.
Student workload
Lectures 38 hours
Preparation of lectures (7h per 2h lecture) 135 hours
Preparation of presentations 8 hours
Preparation of the exam 1 hours
Exam 72 hours
Last updated on 09-02-2024