MA Social and Political Thought

University of Warwick Department of Sociology

Program Description

MA Social and Political Thought

University of Warwick Department of Sociology

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MA Social and Political Thought

Based in the Department of Sociology, this exciting MA programme provides students with a thorough grounding in the classics of Social and Political Thought, a deep and varied engagement with their twentieth century offshoots, and involvement at the cutting edge of contemporary social and political theorising. This interdisciplinary course is unique in offering comprehensive coverage of the classics of social and political thought and a deep and varied engagement with their 20th and 21st Century offshoots. We welcome applications from students with good social science or humanities disciplines. The Sociology department has a large, vibrant and cosmopolitan graduate community, and staff who pride themselves on their availability and openness.

From 2014, the degree is structured around two core modules. The first of these is State, Capitalism and Market (convened by Professor Nicholas Gane), which uses theoretical resources such as Michel Foucault’s writings on biopolitics to think analytically and critically about capitalism and its recurrent crises. This module will look in particular at the recent financial crisis and the role this crisis has played in the reconfiguration of structural relations between the market and the state. A key part of this module will be to look historically and critically at political-economic discourses of neoliberalism which argue for the sovereignty of markets and economics over all things ‘social’. The second core module is Politics and Social Theory (convened by Professor Steve Fuller), which focuses on the concept of ideology as a defining feature of politics, and especially the role that both religion and science have played constituting modern political ideologies. More specifically, this module questions the appropriateness of speaking about a ‘right-left’ divide today, especially in light of the prominence of the environmental movement, the resurgence of biologically based models of the human condition, and the emergence of various ‘trans-‘ and ‘post-‘ humanist strands of contemporary culture.

Beyond these two core modules, students can pursue their own research interests and specialisms by choosing four modules from a wide-range of options, and then progressing to research and write their own 15,000 word dissertation.

Optional modules include, for example, ‘Rethinking the 20th Century’, ‘Social Research for Social Change’, ‘Feminist Theory and Epistemology’, ‘Market Life’, and ‘Death Sovereignty and Power in the (Post) Colony’.

In taking such modules, students will have the opportunity to be taught by authors of ground-breaking work such as:

  • Bhambra, Gurminder K (2007) Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination. Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Blencowe, Claire (2012). Biopolitical Experience: Foucault, Power & Positive Critique. Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Fuller, Steve (2011) Humanity 2.0: What it Means to be Human, Past, Present and Future. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Gane, Nicholas (2012). Max Weber and Contemporary Capitalism. Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Jones, Hannah (2013). Negotiating Cohesion, Inequality and Change: Uncomfortable Positions in Local Government. The Policy Press.
  • Osuri, Goldie (2013). Religious Freedom in India: Sovereignty and (Anti) Conversion. Routledge.
  • Turner, C. (2010). Investigating Sociological Theory. Sage.

The MA Social and Political Thought also has close ties to the Social Theory Centre at Warwick, which provides an important interdisciplinary locus of activities for people interested in social and political theory across and beyond the University. The Centre hosts a visiting seminar series in Social and Political Thought, symposia, and an annual Social Theory Lecture presented by internationally renowned academics. It also organises reading groups for students and staff. As a student on the MA or Diploma in Social and Political Thought you will have the opportunity to participate in many of the other extra-curricular development opportunities available through the Department, including the Annual Sociology Study Trip, which in 2013/4 will take BA, MA and PhD students to Lisbon, Portugal for a series of organised activities including lectures, walking tours and discussions. You will be encouraged to get involved in the lively programme of events that take place in the Department and beyond, including Graduate Seminars and Department Seminars where you will have the chance to engage with external speakers who are leaders in their research field.

The MA in Social and Political Thought provides you with a high level of transferable skills. These include: research and retrieval skills; communication and presentation; interpersonal group work; independent judgement. Our students undertake an MA either straight from undergraduate study or as a way of enhancing their professional skills and interests. Our students go on to a wide range of careers including teaching, media, accountancy, public and charitable sectors. Many of our students also progress to higher degree and PhD studies.

Fees (2014/2015 rates)

Home/EU Students:

  • Full-time £7,050
  • Part-time £3,525

Overseas Students, Band 1:

  • Full-time £15,880
  • Part-time £7,940

Overseas Students, Band 2:

  • Full-time £20,280
  • Part-time £10,140
This school offers programs in:
  • English


The period of study normally required is 12 months full-time and 24 months part-time.

Last updated April 4, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Oct. 2016
12 - 24 months
Part time
Full time
7,050 GBP
Start date Oct. 2016
United Kingdom Coventry, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 12 - 24 months
Price 7,050 GBP
- Home/EU (full-time)