Contemporary Social Issues


A sociological examination of key contemporary social issues, challenges and problems.


The aims of this module are to provide students with an introduction to major concepts, themes and perspectives relevant to the study of sociology and how these can be applied to understanding contemporary processes, issues, challenges.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Describe key contemporary social processes, problems and issues.

2.  Illustrate social processes, problems and issues by drawing upon sociological concepts, media reports and appropriate personal reflection.

3.  Understand what sociological perspectives can contribute to an understanding of social processes, issues and problems.

4.  Discuss the role of structures, institutions and relations of power in shaping social life.

5.  Identify the role of human agency and interaction in shaping the conduct of social life.

Indicative Content

1 Social Inequality and Social Division

Social class and social mobility; race, ethnicity and multiculturalism; gender and identity

2 Globalization and Globality

Media and culture; identity, nation-states and globalization; terrorism and political conflict

3 Social Life and Everyday Life

The life-course; families and family life; interactionism; education

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Learning and teaching for this module will take place through a combination of lectures, collaborative tutorials, online discussion forums, group work, exercises and independent study. Lectures introduce students to key module themes. Tutorials involve directed learning activities that require students to engage with tasks within a facilitated peer learning context. Online discussion forums provide an opportunity for students to develop their own learning by drawing upon pertinent contemporary social questions and opening these up for discussion and feedback online. Work group learning provides a context for students to engage with directed tasks in a learner-led, self-organized environment. Directed exercises provide a space for students to develop their learning autonomously. The module has been expressly designed to integrate with the designated Abertay Attributes and provides critical purchase for students to grow and develop these as part of their university experience. The intellectual dimension will be fostered by engagement with subject knowledge, independent learning and module assessment. The professional dimension will be fostered by student exposure to the direct cultural relevance of lecture themes. The personal dimension will be fostered by class, online and group learning that elevates the importance of collaborative learning. Finally, the active citizen dimension will be fostered by the development of module content that draws explicit attention to social issues that attract ongoing political, public and media attention. There are two units of assessment for this module. Unit 1 is by portfolio and will assess student engagement with group, online and individual learning exercises throughout the module. Unit 2 is by examination and will assess individual student learning of sociological themes, concepts and perspectives developed across the module.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Supervised Practical Activity 12
Unsupervised Practical Activity 72
Assessment 46
Independent 46

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.