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Social and Cultural Theory MSc

Course Description

This programme provides an introduction to a range of debates located within the so-called 'cultural turn' in sociological studies. Increasingly, sociologists are looking to the concept of culture as a source of explanation - and questioning - in their studies of contemporary social formations.

Both theoretical and substantive elements of this cultural turn are addressed. Therefore, the works of key thinkers within social and cultural theory (Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault and others) are explored, while the role of cultural explanations within theories of race and ethnicity, gender relations and the sociology of religion (among others) is also given both theoretical and empirical consideration.

These issues are situated within the framework of analyses and critiques of wider debates and discourses in social and cultural theory on questions such as postmodernism, postfeminism and postcolonialism.

Programme structure

The MSc programme comprises six 12-week taught units and six assessed essays, followed by a dissertation.

Core units
-Understanding Culture

Optional units - You may choose four optional sociology units. Options vary each year but may include:
-Contemporary Sociological Theory
-Theories of Ethnicity and Racism
-Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods
-Philosophy and Research Design
-Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
-Understanding Culture
-Narrating the Self
-The Theory and Politics of Multiculturalism
-Interpreting Gender
-Advanced Qualitative Research
-Advanced Quantitative Research
-Popular Music and Society
-Nations and Nationalism
-Care, Labour and Gender
-Religion and Politics in the West
-Understanding Risk

A maximum of one unit may be chosen from the other optional units that are offered by the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies in the academic year.

Third term
Independent study for dissertation.


Bristol graduates are in high demand and have an excellent record of employment following graduation. Graduates of our MSc programmes go on to pursue varied and interesting careers.

Many sectors - such as the civil service, NGOs and charity work - require an MSc and some volunteer/internship experience. Graduates from our programmes have gone on to work for Refugee UK, Shelter, Barnardos, Oxfam, Amnesty International, governement departments and the European Parliament, among others. Further details can be found on our careers and alumni website: http://www.bris.ac.uk/spais/prospective/prospectivepgt/ppgtcareersandalumni/

Visit the Social and Cultural Theory MSc page on the University of Bristol website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An upper second-class honours degree or equivalent qualification.

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