Sociology of Culture and Civilisation


Culture has become the watchword of our age. This module builds on students' earlier level study of the sociology of culture to inform a critique of the relationship between culture, crisis and civilization.


The aim of this Module is to provide students with the capacity to evaluate debates about culture, civilization and crisis.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  critically evaluate the historical legacy of debates about culture and civilization since the Enlightenment in the Western state formation process

2.  critically understand the cultural critique of civilisation in social theory

3.  critically grasp the contribution made by sociology to the understanding of modern culture

Indicative Content

1 Civilisation and crisis

Introduces the relationship between the concepts of crisis and civilisation

2 Civilisation, civil society and the Enlightenment

Explores the role of the concepts of civilisation and civil society in political change and the emergence of the public sphere in Europe and America

3 Culture and the critique of civilisation

Outlines the role of the aesthetic as a special lens for the critique of modernity and morality

4 Sociology of culture

Explores the role of classical sociology in the crisis of and disenchantment with European civilisation and nationalism

5 Relational Sociology and Culture

A sociology of cultural relations turns attention to issues of power, process, symbolic and physical violence, and the roles of nationalism, economy and the state

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching takes the form of a mix of lectures and seminars. Seminar classes guide students through core and supplementary readings. Reading groups are self-organised by students outwith the formal classroom. The module is assessed through the submission of one coursework assignment and an examination. The module contributes to the development of the Abertay Graduate Attributes by encouraging students to develop a critical approach to the problem of culture (Intellectual); collaborate with others in self-organised reading groups and seminars (Professional); reflect upon the relationship between self, social position and cultural attributes (Personal); and actively and critically engage with the politics of civil society, public sphere, nationalism and the state as historical formations (Active Citizen).

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 13
Tutorial/Seminar 26
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 28
Assessment 50
Independent 83

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 2019/20 , and may be subject to change for future years.