Course code Soci2023

Credit points 4

Contemporary Sociological Theories

Total Hours in Course160

Number of hours for lectures32

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes32

Independent study hours96

Date of course confirmation29.10.2021

Responsible UnitInstitute of Social Sciences and Humanities

Course developer

author Sociālo un humanitāro zinātņu institūts

Dina Bite

Dr. sc. soc.

Prior knowledge

Soci1014, General Sociological Theory

Course abstract

The aim of the study course is to provide students with understanding about the dominant sociological theories in the 20th-21st centuries in the context of contemporary social processes.
During the study course students are introduced to the sociological theories prevailing in the 20th-21st centuries. Students learn the main paradigms of sociology, linking them with the current problems of modern society and directions of sociological research. The course also pays attention to the classification of sociological theories and current development trends.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

Knowledge. Knows the classification of sociological theories, the main theoretical concepts (test, self-control test); understands the essence of sociological paradigms and their application in the analysis of social processes. (individual task I, self-control test, exam).
Skills. Ability to link theoretical concepts and theses with practical examples (individual task 1); ability to identify sociological theories, distinguish them from ideologies (independent task 2); ability to summarize and analyse theoretical literature in sociology (individual task 2); ability to responsibly plan time for the implementation of the assigned work (individual tasks); ability to independently obtain the necessary information using various sources of information. Ability to critically evaluate and analyse the obtained information (independent tasks).
Competence. Ability to critically evaluate social processes in society and interpret them in the context of sociological theories (individual tasks, exam); ability to synthesize the findings of various sociological theories in order to analyse the problems of modern social life (exam).

Course Content(Calendar)

1. The essence of sociological theories – 2 hours
2. The classification of sociological theories – 2 hours
3. Sociological paradigms – 2 hours
4. Structural functionalism as a sociological paradigm – 3 hours
5. Conflict’s paradigms I – 3 hours
6. Conflict’s paradigms II– 2 hours
7. Symbolic interactionism`s paradigm – 2 hours
8. Theories of social exchange – 2 hours
9. Phenomenology and ethnomethodology – 4 hours
10. Social network theory – 1 hour
11. Human capital and social capital – 2 hours
12. Integration of macro and micro theories – 2 hours
13. Theory of the risk society – 1 hour
14. Characteristic of postmodern theories – 4 hours.

List of seminar topics (32 hours)

1. Discussion. Classification of sociological theories – 1 hour
2. Individual and group work. Types of social action – 2 hours
3. Individual task. Stages of conflict’s development – 2 hours
4. Discussion. Examples of the game theory – 2 hours
5. Analysis of the examples of the dramaturgical theory – 3 hours
6. Test. Classification of sociological theories, main concepts – 1 hour
7. Presentations of the independent task. Sociological paradigms – 6 hours
8. Analysis of the examples of social construction – 3 hours
9. Visualization of the consumers` society – 3 hours
10. Analysis of the examples of Mcdonaldization – 3 hours
11. Presentations of the independent task. Analysis of theoretical sources – 6 hours

Requirements for awarding credit points

Exam. The final assessment is made of the assessment on two independent tasks (50%), the test (10%) and the oral exam (40%).

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

Literature studies, preparation and presentation of two independent tasks.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Students must prepare and successfully present two individual tasks (50%), they must pass the test (10%) and pass the oral exam (40%). Students must take part in all practical works. 10% correspond to one point in the 10-point grading scale.

Compulsory reading

1. Dillon M. Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. 552 p.
2. Appelrouth S., Edles L.D. Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory: Text and Readings. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press, 2008. 883 p.
3. Allan K. Contemporary Social and Sociological Theory: Visualizing social Worlds. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press, 2006. 455 p.
4. Ritzer G. Encyclopedia of Social Theory. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2005. 982 p. Pieejams elektroniski LLU EBSCOhost datu bāzē:
5. Murphy J.W. Contemporary Social Theory: Key Themes and Analysis. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2012. 175 p. Pieejams elektroniski LLU EBSCOhost datu bāzē:
6. Bauman Z. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001. 228 p.
7. Ritzer G.The McDonaldization of society. London: Pine Forge Press, 2004. 309 p.

Further reading

1. Segre S. Contemporary Sociological Thinkers and Theories. Farnham, Surrey: Routledge, 2014. 382 p. Pieejams elektroniski LLU EBSCOhost datu bāzē:
2. Calhoun C. Contemporary sociological theory. 2nd ed. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. 489 p.
3. Cuff E.C. Perspectives in Sociology. 5th ed. New York: Routledge, 2006. 422 p.
4. Ritzer G. Explorations in the Sociology of Consumption: Fast Food, Credit Cards and Casinos. London: SAGE Publications, 2001. 257 p. Pieejams elektroniski LLU EBSCOhost datubāzē:
5. Beck, U., Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. London: SAGE Publications, 1992. 264 p.
6. Bodrijārs, Ž., Simulakri un simulācija. Rīga: Omina Mea. 2000. 157 lpp.

Periodicals and other sources

1. British Sociological Association. Pieejams:
2. European Journal of Social Theory. ISSN 1461-7137 (web). Pieejams:
3. Current Sociology. ISSN 1461-7064 (web). Pieejams:
4. Sociology. ISSN 1469-8684 (web). Pieejams:


Mandatory study course in the ESAF academic bachelor study programme “Sociology of Organizations and Public Administration”