Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)




Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide a level-three optional module designed to build on methodological and theoretical work undertaken by students at levels two and three.
  • To provide students with a critical examination of core debates concerning the existence, nature and impact of globalization from a number of social science disciplines.
  • To consider the specific contribution of sociologists to contemporary thinking about globalization.


  • Over the past few years, globalization has become a buzzword both in government circles and in the social sciences.
  • Although many of today's economic and social problems (endemic unemployment, social exclusion, corporate power) are ascribed to 'globalization' there is nevertheless wide-ranging disagreement about what, if anything, the term actually means, whether 'globalization' really exists and, if it does, the nature of its impact on modern societies.
  • Starting with an examination of the theoretical and methodological issues raised by 'globalization', this module subsequently assesses its impact on the international capitalist system, social movements, nation-states and forms of national and global culture.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module the 'typical' student will be able to:
  • Understand the theoretical and methodological problems raised by 'globalization' as a key contemporary idea in the social sciences.
  • Understand the importance of 'globalization' as a sociological concept.
  • Critically analyse and apply the concept of 'globalization' to a range of areas: e.g. the behaviour of social movements, the 'decline' of the nation-state, cultural issues.
  • Understand and analyse the idea of 'globalization' as a tool of historical and comparative sociological analysis.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module students will be able to:
  • Evaluate sociological arguments and evidence.
  • Use abstract sociological concepts with confidence.
  • Undertake and present sociological concepts in a scholarly manner.
  • Employ both theoretical and methodological expertise to issues of central concern to the sociology of globalization.
  • Convey, both orally and in writing, the meaning of abstract theoretical and methodological concepts in ways that are understandable to others.
  • Perceive the relevance of, and relate, insights developed from the knowledge of globalization to contemporary issues in social and public policy.
Key Skills:
  • This module will help students to develop the following key skills:
  • An ability to demonstrate a range of communication skills - for example, the evaluation and synthesis of information obtained from a variety of sources; written forms of communication; adapting forms of communication to different tasks.
  • An ability to read complex tables, graphs and charts.
  • An ability to use IT resources including web-based material together with an ability to seek and gather necessary information from a variety of sources both bibliographic and electronic.
  • An ability to manage time effectively, work to prescribed deadlines and engage fully in both independent and directed forms of learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching and Learning: Lectures and seminars constitute the teaching methods on this module.
  • Further learning will be achieved through directed reading and formative essay writing.
  • Assessment will be by assessed essay and unseen examination.
  • Lectures will contribute to learning outcomes by: i) Providing a number of introductory sessions designed to introduce the complex theoretical and methodological issues raised by 'globalization'.
  • ii) Subsequently providing an introduction to the ways in which the term is used by both sociologists and other social scientists - particularly as a tool of comparative and historical analysis.
  • Lectures are appropriate to the achievement of the stated learning outcomes because they provide initial, introductory starting points for each discrete topic of study.
  • They 'set the scene' for further work.
  • Seminars will contribute to learning outcomes by: i) Providing students with opportunities to discuss issues raised in the lectures.
  • ii) Enabling students to discuss their own reading for the module in greater detail.
  • iii) Providing students with the opportunity to give individual and group presentations of work.
  • Seminars are appropriate to the achievement of the stated learning outcomes because they allow students to develop their critical faculties in the context of a more detailed consideration of the module material.
  • Directed reading provides students with the chance to read about issues raised in lectures and seminars in greater depth.
  • It is also a necessary element in preparing for seminar presentations.
  • Directed reading (which includes the use of the WWW) improves data gathering skills and other skills associated with extracting information from writer and electronic sources.
  • Formative essays provide the opportunity for students to analyse specific aspects of the module in depth.
  • They also contribute to a number of subject-specific and key skills concerned with the application of methodological and theoretical insights to the area of study and to the development of writing skills and other key skills associated with information and data gathering (in written and electronic form).
  • Assessment: Assessed essays provide the opportunity for students to display their critical and analytical abilities by applying the knowledge they have gained to a specific theme, or themes, examined during the module.
  • Assessed essays also test development in subject-specific and key skills concerned with the application of theoretical and methodological insights to particular issues raised in the course of the module.
  • Unseen exams provide the chance for students to display their abilities to apply critical insights across a wider range of topic areas.
  • They also provide the opportunity to display writing skills and skills associated with abilities to condense and present information succinctly within a time-limited period.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Total 200
Lectures 22 1 Per Week 1 Hour 22
Seminars 11 Fortnightly 1 Hour 11
Preparation and Reading 167

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
one assessed essay 3000 max. 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
one unseen examination - two questions in two hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two essays of 1500 words each, one to handed in during the Michaelmas term, the other in the Epiphany term.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University