SOC40810 Introduction to Comparative Social Change: Concepts and Cases

Academic Year 2023/2024

Rather than a constant, stable structure, our social reality is in flux. Seemingly permanent fixtures of our social, demographic and political landscape fade, suddenly collapse and emerge within remarkably short periods of time. From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the Brexit and from the Arab Spring to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, social currents ebb and flow in seeming unpredictable ways. Rather than accept that our society evolves randomly, this module seeks to offer insight into the theory and logic of social change.

The study of social change within and between societies is a central concern in classical and contemporary sociology. This module critically examines some of the sociological theories and concepts that have been devised to analyse comparative social change. It focuses in particular on theories and concepts of state-society relations and on institutionalism as a perspective to better understand and explain social change across societies. It then critically applies these theories and concepts to a selection of historical and contemporary case-studies of countries, regions and social movements. The main aim of the case-studies is to illustrate some of the durable concepts, robust findings, internal differences and unresolved issues in the study of comparative social change.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:

MO2.1: Demonstrate ability to critically analyse sociological theories and concepts of comparative social change;
MO2.2: Show capacity to critically apply theories and concepts of comparative social change to selected case-studies;
MO2.3: Exhibit personal, social and communication skills needed to contribute to a group presentation;
MO2.4: Demonstrate critical writing ability to construct, support and summarise an argument that links concepts and cases of comparative social change.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Key Skills:
Critical Thinking
Social Theorising
Analysing & Applying
Comparative Historical
Group Learning
Independent Learning
Digital & Media Literacy
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Comparative Social Change Concept Analysis. 500 words. Week 4 n/a Graded No


Essay: Comparative Social Change Essay. 1500 words. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: Comparative Social Change Applied Analysis. 1000 words. Week 8 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided on assessed coursework as individual comments published in the VLE, in group sessions at lectures/seminars, and/or in person during office hours as appropriate.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 13:00 - 14:50