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Masters Degrees (Post-Structuralism)

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This specialist programme aims to provide you with a foundation in modern european philosophy from the late 18th century to the present day, focusing on… Read more
This specialist programme aims to provide you with a foundation in modern european philosophy from the late 18th century to the present day, focusing on the European tradition (Leibniz, Hume, Ravaisson, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and Bergson) as well as 20th century and contemporary philosophers (Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard and Nancy), and on the major areas of contemporary philosophy such as phenomenology, post-structuralism and deconstruction. The programme allows you to grasp the relations between philosophy and other disciplines such as aesthetics, art-theory, literary theory and political theory. The modules offered vary from year to year, but all draw on the research specialisms of members of the department.

The course is available to distance learning students via the internet. You can participate in the programme through an international forum following the same units as you would if attending in person. Teaching and learning is tailored for distance-learning students and includes online discussion groups and tutorials.

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Join one of the top sociology departments in the UK and further your understanding of the tensions, interactions and networks that dictate how societies are organised. Read more
Join one of the top sociology departments in the UK and further your understanding of the tensions, interactions and networks that dictate how societies are organised. You contribute to the thinking that guides organisations such as the Home Office, Amnesty International and the United Nations.

You explore some of the most important and significant debates in contemporary social theory, learning to think analytically about theoretical questions. You discover the importance of social theory in developing a politically engaged understanding of concepts such as post-structuralism, feminism and actor-network theory, focusing on topics such as:
-The history of digital piracy
-Sociology of human rights
-Media and criminology
-Gender and sexuality
-Citizenship

You also develop the skills needed to make your own contribution to the field, gaining a critical and coherent perspective on empirical research and examining the key assumptions and ideological underpinnings of qualitative and quantitative research.

Our Department of Sociology was rated top 10 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014), and we consistently receive strong student satisfaction scores, including 96% overall student satisfaction in 2015.

Our expert staff

We are a large and friendly department, offering a diverse range of research interests and with staff members who are committed to teaching, research and publication that covers a broad geographical spectrum.

Many have worked at the local level with local authorities, justice councils, community partnerships and charities. Others have worked at a national and international level with bodies like the United Nations, the European Commission’s Expert Group on Public Understanding of Science, Amnesty International, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Home Office and national non-governmental organisations.

Specialist facilities

-Dedicated postgraduate support facilities
-Our renowned off-campus Graduate Conference takes place every February
-A unique Student Resource Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
-The Sociology common room is open all day Monday-Friday, is stocked with daily newspapers, magazines and journals, and has free drinks available
-Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
-Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates

Your future

A good sociology course, especially one from a recognised centre of excellence like Essex, opens many doors.

This course provides excellent preparation for further academic study, and many of our postgraduates go on to successful academic careers, both in the UK and overseas.

Others have established careers in non-governmental organisations, local authorities, specialist think tanks, government departments, charities, media production, and market intelligence.

We work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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As well as inviting the comparative study of literary works of different linguistic and cultural origins, this absorbing programme encourages you to explore the interrelation between literature and the other arts, such as music, visual arts and film. Read more

Programme description

As well as inviting the comparative study of literary works of different linguistic and cultural origins, this absorbing programme encourages you to explore the interrelation between literature and the other arts, such as music, visual arts and film.

You’ll embrace a range of languages and cultures within Europe, North America, South America and Asia, and draw on the teaching and research expertise of our internationally renowned departments, including several of the highest-rated literature departments in the UK.

The programme introduces you to subjects related to your studies, such as comparative literature, world literature and post-colonialism, translation studies, intermediality, psychoanalytical criticism, formalism, feminist literary theory, structuralism and post-structuralism, and deconstruction.

The programme also allows you to follow your own research interests through other tutorial work and your independently researched dissertation.

Programme structure

The programme combines seminar and tutorial work. You will take two compulsory and two option courses, plus compulsory research skills and methods courses. The two semesters of taught courses are followed by your independently researched dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

Theories and Methods of Literary Study (I and II)
Research Methods and Problems
Research Skills and Methods

Option courses may include:

Film and Gender
Poet-Critics: the Style of Modern Poetry
Critical Theory: Issues and Debates
Fairy Tales
The Great Russian Novel
Poetry, Music and Translation
Green Thoughts: Landscape, Environment and Literature

Learning outcomes

On completion of the programme you will have gained:

a thorough understanding of Comparative Literature, as a subject and as a practice
knowledge of a number of literary theories and different approaches to literary study, and the ability to use them for literary analysis
the ability to focus on detail on literary themes, genres and historical periods from a comparative perspective
transferable skills such as critical thinking, analytical and interpretative ability, communication and writing skills

Career opportunities

This interdisciplinary programme will help take your research interests further into a broad range of fields. You may decide to concentrate on an academic career, or apply your learning to a diversity of roles, from teaching to publishing or cultural heritage. You will also graduate with skills that can be applied to any career.

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The aim of the programme is to offer grounding in the theories on Cultural Studies which draws on Marxism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Post-Marxism, Feminism, and Post-Modernism and their use, application and adaption in the cross-cultural contexts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Read more
The aim of the programme is to offer grounding in the theories on Cultural Studies which draws on Marxism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Post-Marxism, Feminism, and Post-Modernism and their use, application and adaption in the cross-cultural contexts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It provides an examination of the main historical concepts in Western culture such as ideology, power, class, identity, race, nation, subjectivity, representation, and memory and how these are challenged by scholars working in non-Western cultures of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The aim is to explore the different and plural cultural histories and memories of these contexts to which Cultural Studies must adapt.

Theoretical paradigms covered will reflect on issues of class, ‘race’, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, representation and religion. The course will investigate central questions of epistemology and methodology in relation to the application of Cultural Studies theories in non-Western contexts. The programme is theory and practice based and therefore, it draws on case studies from a diversity of cultural practices, genres and contexts to elucidate complex theoretical concepts and challenge their limitations and/or validity in the context of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The programme aims to equip students with sufficient knowledge to understand and evaluate the way in which Cultural Studies theories and methods are used in cross-cultural contexts and hence develop analytic skills for undertaking their own research projects.

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/cclps/degrees/macultstud/

Structure

The Programme will consist of modules valued at 3 units and a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Full-time students will be allowed to enrol for four units during term one (part-time students two or three), if one of the units is a language acquisition unit. At the end of term one they will have to withdraw from one unit, leaving units to the value of three (pro rata for part-time students) and a dissertation.

MA Cultural Studies Programme Specification 2012/2013 (pdf; 40kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/cclps/degrees/macultstud/file53952.pdf

Employment

A postgraduate degree in Cultural Studies from SOAS provides its students with expertise in non-European cultures, in-depth regional knowledge, and strong research and critical analysis skills. As well as subject expertise, Postgraduate students are equipped with the transferable skills needed to continue in research as well as the skills needed to enable them to find professional careers in the private and public sectors. These include familiarity with methods of research; the ability to absorb and analyse large quantities of information; organisational skills. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website (http://www.soas.ac.uk/careers/graduate-destinations/).

The Department

The SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS) exists to promote the disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies in relation to Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The Centre is housed in and administered by the Faculty of Languages and Cultures, but as a Centre dedicated to interdisciplinary study it is not subordinate to any single Department in the Faculty, either administratively or intellectually.

Many theorists and scholars in the different disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies are stressing the need for a move toward the study of non-European literatures and non-European aesthetic and cultural practices. The range of expertise in non-European literatures and cultures offered at SOAS aims to respond and contribute to current critical and theoretical debates in these disciplines.

The mission of the CCLPS is therefore to promote research on non-European cultures and literatures in the disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies, with the aim of having an impact on the debates and of eventually reinvigorating and pioneering certain dimensions of the disciplines. The SOAS CCLPS also aims to promote comparative critical thought and postgraduate research in critical methods derived from the study of non-European literatures and aesthetic and cultural practices, in addition to written literatures in European languages.

The SOAS CCLPS provides an administrative and intellectual home for the School’s MA Comparative Literature, MA in Cultural Studies and MA in Postcolonial Studies, as well as the MPhil/PhD programmes in these three disciplines. The Centre places its emphasis on the acquisition of critical theoretical skills and in-depth regional knowledge across disciplines. Members of the Centre and current research students work on an exceptionally wide range of topics, both theoretical and critical. Supervision for research students can be provided across this wide range. MPhil/PhD students may register for a degree in Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies or Postcolonial Studies while being supervised by an associate member based in a SOAS department.

The Centre organises a training programme in the three disciplines for research students, in coordination with the faculty wide Research Training Seminar, which is supported by regular Centre seminars. The Centre also liaises with other discipline-based centres and departments over the following MA degree programmes offered faculty wide: MA African Literature, MA Chinese Literature, MA Japanese Literature, MA Korean Literature, MA Arabic Literature, MA Gender Studies, MA Theory and Practice of Translation.

Membership of the SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies is open to all academic staff and students at SOAS as well as to individuals based in other higher education institutions in the UK with an academic interest in the disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies. Membership will operate on an annually renewable basis. Members will be listed under the following headings: Steering Committee, SOAS Staff (listed by discipline), SOAS Postgraduates (listed by discipline), International Advisory Board (to be invited by Chair through Steering Committee), Visiting Scholars and Affiliated Scholars. An up-to-date list of current members will be maintained by the Centre and will be subject to the Data Protection Act.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

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This degree is intended for students with a general interest in sociology who wish to update, extend and deepen their knowledge and understand current developments in the field. Read more
This degree is intended for students with a general interest in sociology who wish to update, extend and deepen their knowledge and understand current developments in the field. The programme aims to provide students with opportunities to expand their knowledge of the discipline by engaging with contemporary research and by undertaking historical and comparative study.

Compulsory modules:

The Research Process: This module introduces the main varieties of both quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences. Principles of research design and issues of data collection and analysis are studied.

Applied Social Research: This module delivers specialist training in sociological research. It draws upon generic social science research skills and knowledge and applies them to a joint group project. In the group project, students will select the topic in which they will develop their skills as empirical researchers. It is a ‘hands on’ module and students will engage in hypothesis development, research design, data gathering, data analysis and interpretation of the results.

Optional modules:

Researching Community: This module examines the developments in the field of community research and related theoretical and policy debates surrounding the application of ideas of ‘community’ to current economic and social changes. The module focuses on four main themes:

Conceptual issues: the meaning of ‘community’ and its use as a concept in social scientific and popular discourse. This will be considered in relation to different theoretical approaches such as social constructionism, realism, and post-structuralism.
Empirical applications: an examination of classic and contemporary examples of community research and relevant case studies dealing with different forms of ‘community’.
Policy issues: relating to contemporary forms of intervention in relation to community development, regeneration, mobilisation, participation, leadership and power. This will be considered in the context of frameworks such as communitarianism, social capital, and the ‘third way’.
Community methodology: examines how ‘community’ has been researched and the tools and methods available for empirical investigation. These include ethnographic studies, large-scale surveys, ‘community profiling’ and auditing, and action research.
Nationalism and Minorities: This module will examine key issues and debates concerning the growing claims by ethnic and national minorities and indigenous peoples for distinct language, territorial and other minority rights and recognition within nation-states and beyond. The relationships between nationalism, citizenship and minority rights will be considered with reference to empirical examples. Debates and policies concerned with the management of cultural and ethnic diversity by the state will also be considered. The approach is interdisciplinary drawing on sociology, political theory, anthropology, law and education, with case study examples provided from Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania. It aims to provide students with a global and comparative understanding of individual cases, of their historical antecedents, and of the key similarities and differences between them.

Sociology of Everyday Life: The module deals with different theories of everyday life, for example those focusing on face-to face communication. Other theories emphasize how social life is “performed” in everyday contexts and its “dramaturgy”. It is discussed how individuals construct meaning out of their social lives. Some approaches reflect on the constraints of society, especially of powerful institutions, and how they affect the “lifeworld”. Empirical studies of everyday life will also be part of the module. From airports to zoos, human behaviour in different settings has been described and placed in theoretical context. The creation of social stigmas, or of social spaces can be studied. Students will be introduced to the use of different methodologies, like observation and listening to individuals telling their story.

Culture, Race and Civilization: The module explores normative and descriptive concepts of culture, the dichotomy of culture and civilization, and the dialectical tension between all of these. Culture appears in a number of different contexts: for example as promise of Enlightenment, or as social reality of the everyday. The relation between “multiculturalism” and ideas of “nation” and “race” will be part of the discussion. What is the role of the idea of “civilization” for racism and racialization? Another aspect to be covered is the relation between wealth and culture. “Cultural critique” and globalization theories provide different answers. Finally, the role of violence in relation to culture, race and civilization will be discussed.

MA Dissertation

The dissertation is undertaken on completion of the taught modules. It is valued at 60 credits (one-third of the MA degree) and will be around 20,000 words in length.

Part-time students in employment may choose a topic related to their profession and an area in which they wish to develop further expertise and specialisation. Under guidance of a dissertation tutor, students will undertake their MA dissertation work independently on a topic of their choice. This may be a piece of empirical research including primary or secondary data analysis or a theoretical dissertation.

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Compulsory modules. The Research Process. This module introduces the main varieties of both quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences. Read more
Compulsory modules:

The Research Process: This module introduces the main varieties of both quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences. Principles of research design and issues of data collection and analysis are studied. Data collection and analysis will include:

How to construct, use and critique questionnaires and interviews
Interpret measurement error and missing data
Engage in various kinds of observational research
Analyse observational data
Record, transcribe and analyse conversational, textual and visual data
Conduct archival, documentary and historical research
Key Issues in Social Policy: This module extends and deepens knowledge and understanding of key issues in contemporary social policy. Links between theoretical analysis in welfare and empirical enquiry in social policy are made, and key issues, debates and concepts in social policy analysis and evaluation are explored. Contemporary forms of welfare delivery including issues of participation, user involvement and control in the provision of welfare are critically evaluated. Core debates relating to social change, equality and inequalities, discrimination, risk and dependency, citizenship and rights will be examined. The impact of devolution and local government change on social policy in Wales is reviewed together with national and international comparisons of welfare systems.

Health Policies: This module adopts a comparative approach to the study of health policies in Britain and internationally. Students will consider the politics of health and will develop an understanding of the dynamics of power between professionals, administrators and patients. The role of social policy analysis in evaluating the impact of change, factors associated with good and bad practice, and barriers to implementing new health policies are explored through examples and case studies. The case of the British NHS will be considered in detail examining evidence of attempts to improve the quality of care through funding and organisational change. The module will also examine the implications of devolution for the NHS.

Optional Modules:

Researching Community: This module examines the developments in the field of community research and related theoretical and policy debates surrounding the application of ideas of ‘community’ to current economic and social changes. The module focuses on four main themes:

Conceptual issues: the meaning of ‘community’ and its use as a concept in social scientific and popular discourse. This will be considered in relation to different theoretical approaches such as social constructionism, realism, and post-structuralism.
Empirical applications: an examination of classic and contemporary examples of community research and relevant case studies dealing with different forms of ‘community’.
Policy issues: relating to contemporary forms of intervention in relation to community development, regeneration, mobilisation, participation, leadership and power. This will be considered in the context of frameworks such as communitarianism, social capital, and the ‘third way’.
Community methodology: examines how ‘community’ has been researched and the tools and methods available for empirical investigation. These include ethnographic studies, large-scale surveys, ‘community profiling’ and auditing, and action research.
Nationalism and Minorities: This module will examine key issues and debates concerning the growing claims by ethnic and national minorities and indigenous peoples for distinct language, territorial and other minority rights and recognition within nation-states and beyond. The relationships between nationalism, citizenship and minority rights will be considered with reference to empirical examples. Debates and policies concerned with the management of cultural and ethnic diversity by the state will also be considered. The approach is interdisciplinary drawing on sociology, political theory, anthropology, law and education, with case study examples provided from Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania. It aims to provide students with a global and comparative understanding of individual cases, of their historical antecedents, and of the key similarities and differences between them.

Policy Research and Evaluation: Monitoring and evaluation of policy initiatives has become increasingly important. This module aims to develop full complement of skills required to successfully undertake specialist research and robust evaluation that will inform future policy. Evidence-based policy and practice are imperatives of the public, independent and voluntary sector organisations nationally and internationally. Evaluation research is one of the cornerstones of evidence-based practice both locally and nationally and is important right across local government and public and independent sector organisations. The module will provide key skills to enable individuals to understand, conduct or commission evaluative work at a time when it is increasingly important for organisations to consider the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of the services they provide.

Key Issues in International Social Work: The purpose of the International Social Work module is to widen students’ understanding of the differing models, traditions and welfare contexts of social work. On completing the module, students are expected to be able to:

Critically evaluate social work within the international context
Critically evaluate and contrast social work in the UK with European and other countries
Analyse the strengths and weaknesses in the different ways of doing social work within the countries studied
Discuss in depth the philosophical, historical and theoretical differences between the contexts of social work practice within the welfare frameworks of the different countries
Develop a sound and broad understanding of the contrasting differences with social work based in African and Asian countries
Applied Social Research: This module delivers specialist training in social policy research. It draws upon generic social science research skills and k knowledge and applies them to a joint group project. In the group project, students will select the social policy-related topic in which they will develop their skills as empirical researchers. It is a ‘hands on’ module and students will engage in hypothesis development, research design, data gathering, data analysis and interpretation of the results.

MA Dissertation:

The dissertation is normally around 20,000 words in length for MA degrees. Students will receive full support from lecturing staff throughout the process, from the planning stage through to the final stages of writing up the final version. Every student is allocated a supervisor who will oversee and provide advice and guidance on research design, methodology, results, drafting and final dissertation submission. Recent MA dissertation topics have included:

Mental health policy in Japan
Whose welfare benefits?
Violence against women in Pakistan

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