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Course outlines


The following postgraduate courses will be offered in 2017. 





*Core course for all Honours programmes*

Convenor: Associate Prof Rajen Govender

The SOC4013F course introduces the primary theoretical and real world considerations in survey research and quantitative methods. The survey research portion covers research design, sampling design, measurement construction and psychometric properties. The statistics portion covers the nature of data and distributions, measures of central tendency and dispersion, and univariate and bivariate and hypotheses testing.


SOC4028F SOCIAL THEORY (6 weeks, 12 credits)

*Core course for all Honours programmes*

Convenor: Dr Nomkhosi Gama

In this course we will first explore a number of philosophical, theoretical and political debates that have influenced Sociology (and, when appropriate, social studies more generally). Thereafter, we will examine the implications of these debates for researching, teaching and interpreting social phenomena in South Africa as well as other countries.


SOC5003F IDENTITY, SUBJECTIVY & DIFFERENCE (6 weeks, 12 credits)

*Core course for the MSocSc (Sociology) programme*

Convenor: Dr Natasha Vally

This course is best seen as an exploration into social theory, with a particular focus on how Western and African thinkers have sought to explain the modern world. The aim is to expose students to the diversity of intellectual traditions that have shaped interpretations of the social world by bringing in those voices that have traditionally been left out of the sociological canon.   The course will have a strong comparative dimension, bringing in examples of discussions of decolonisation. 


SOC5007F ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CHANGE (6 weeks, 12 credits) 

*Core course for the MPhil (Development Studies) programme*

Convenor: Prof Jeremy Seekings.

This course explores the relationships between social and economic change and state regulation and intervention in the economy and society, with case-studies drawn primarily from contemporary Africa. The course pays particular attention to the ways in which poverty and inequality are shaped by public policy, and to the macroeconomic underpinnings and political-economic dimensions of public policy.



*Core course for all Master's programmes (Global Studies excluded)*

Convenor: Associate Prof Elena Moore

Pre-requisites: SOC4015F (or equivalent), or acceptance to Master’s programme

This module uses seminars and fieldwork assignments to address some of the methodological and technical aspects of conducting in-depth interviews and analysing the results. Students will learn the techniques involved in interviewing for life histories, lived periods, situations and on-going personal experiences. The focus of this course is primarily on analysis of qualitative data. Qualitative data requires close interpretation which can be accomplished in a number of ways depending on the objectives of an investigation. This module will focus on thematic and narrative analysis and students will learn how to apply thematic and narrative analytic methods to qualitative data.


Term 2


SOC4010F DEVELOPMENT THEORY (6 weeks, 12 credits)

Convenor: Dr Natasha Vally 

What is development? In this course students will be introduced to the various schools of thought about the meaning of development - from modernisation theory and neoliberal perspectives to the concept of the development state and the capabilities framework that is now envisaged in South Africa’s National Development Plan. Students will be expected to critically analyse the relevance of these frameworks for South Africa in light of the wave of protests in communities throughout the country.  Particular attention will therefore be on the role of local government in development. A comparative perspective will be adopted with examples from other countries in both the South (e.g. India) and the North (U.S.A).



*Core course for all Honours programmes*

Convenor: Nkululeko Mabandla

This course introduces qualitative research by focusing on qualitative interviews and qualitative data analysis, with reference to social research methods and research design. Students learn about the basic conceptual, methodological and technical aspects of conducting qualitative interviews and analysing qualitative data. They also begin to develop the ability to read critically and assess qualitative research reports. Classroom sessions combine theory and practice in the form of lectures, discussions, exercises and instruction on how to use NVivo computer software.


SOC4019F GENDER, FAMILIES AND THE STATE (6 weeks, 12 credits) 

*Core elective for BSocSc Honours (Sociology) programme*

Convenor: Associate Prof  Elena Moore

The course will examine the interrelationship between families, state and gender relations in the context of changing welfare policy and family law. The course pays particular attention to claims of use and abuse of state powers and resources in relation to families and personal life. The course will include a discussion of the relationship between responsibility and obligation, rights and rewards in the context of changing families and state intervention. The course will include detailed South African and international case studies which highlight different aspects of state-family engagement. Contrasting models of state-family relations will be outlined to help identify the idiosyncrasies of the South African context.



Convenor: Nkululekho Mabandla

This course has an ambitious scope, and may be described as a historical, ethnographic and theoretical interrogation of ways of understanding and doing development. Relationship between colonialism and development in Africa, the development paradigms that were on offer to newly independent postcolonial states in Africa and elsewhere, and contemporary governmental practices and strategies for enhancing social and economic well-being are some of the topics we will explore. 


SOC5019F  RACE, CLASS AND IDENTITIES (6 weeks, 12 credits)

Convener: Dr A Benya

This course explores the conceptualization, meaning and consequences of race and class categories, identities and labels.  The course pays particular attention to their negotiation and contestation in contemporary South Africa, whilst also locating the South African case in a broader historical, comparative and theoretical context.  The course examines the intersection between racial identities and labels with other social cleavages and corresponding identities.  The course will include discussion of race and class in the workplace, and therefore is an appropriate course for students in industrial sociology/psychology as much as in general sociology and other social sciences.


SOC5052F SURVEY DATA ANALYSIS (6 weeks, 12 credits) 

Convener Associate Prof Rajen Govender

*Core course for all Master's programmes (Global Studies excluded). Please note that if you are a Master's student without the stated prerequisites, you would need to complete either SOC4013F or POL5035F (Data Analysis in Political Science) in the first term, before proceeding to SOC5052F in the second term.*

Convenor: Associate Prof Rajen Govender and Dr Faisal Garba

Prerequisites: Acceptance for Master’s programme AND SOC4013F or equivalent

The SOC5052F course applies intermediate and advanced statistical techniques in the analysis of quantitative survey data. It focuses particularly on the development and validation of scales (factors) and the application of these composite variables in multivariate linear and logistic regression analyses. The course is not a statistics course per se but rather concentrates on the application of these techniques in the analysis of survey research data. The emphasis is thus on the following: the conceptualisation of research questions from theory and available research literature, engaging with survey datasets, including addressing data problems and issues and preparing datasets for analysis, setting up and conducting factor analysis and regression analysis, and interpreting and reporting the results of factor analysis and regression analysis.



Full semester course


SOC5024S DEVELOPMENT THEORY IN PRACTICE (12 weeks, 24 credits)

Convenor: Dr Jacques de Wet 

This course links an academic training in Development Sociology to the needs of development practitioners working in non-profit organisations (NPOs) in Southern Africa. It explores the interface between academic knowledge and practitioner knowledge from a people-centred perspective. It contributes to personal and organisational effectiveness of middle and senior level personnel by developing, for example: analytical, policy formulation, financial management and evaluation skills. As part of the course, students undertake supervised internships in NPOs operating in the Cape Peninsula.


Term 3


SOC4004S POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY (6 weeks, 12 credits)

*Core elective for BSocSc Honours (Sociology) programme*

Convenor: Dr Ruchi Chaturvedi

This course revolves around the relationship between state and society. It proceeds from the understanding that state and society are not two radically separate realms but fields of action and meaning that continually make and unmake one another. Thus on the one hand this course will examine the nature of ideas, and the network of institutions and practices that make up the modern nation state; on the other hand it will study the formation of socially embedded agents of power who have not only lived out their own aspirations of self-determination, democracy and justice but also revolted against nationalist and neo-liberal concordances. The ways in which the two spheres have mutually constituted one another will be a key concern. In order to understand that, the course will draw on classical and contemporary theories as well as sociologically grounded ethnographies of political life particularly in the Global South.



Convenor: Dr Frank Matose

This course examines the intersection of society, natural resource management and development practice from a social science perspective. The course lays the ground for students in examining the nature of environmental issues that are faced by society today, with a particular focus on Africa. This is an introduction to a political ecology approach to environmental issues. The rest of the course then examines a select five sectoral issues that Africa faces beginning with land, followed by forests, wildlife and rangelands, wetlands and riverine commons. For each weekly seminar students will be exposed to each environmental issue within the human dimensions of natural resource use by engaging with a diverse range of empirical scholarship for each set of natural resource commons.


SOC5012S SOCIOLOGY OF DEVIANCE (6 weeks, 12 credits)

*Core course for MSocSc (Global Studies) programme*

Convenor: Trevor McArthur

The course introduces students to the ways prior historical encounters have shaped the classification and control of human collectivities and how these were transformed in colonial multi-ethnic societies. It also explores the dynamics of intercultural relations in colonial and post-colonial societies and explores the social sources of co-existence in contemporary (globalising) settings.



Convenor: Associate Prof Amrita Pande

This course will examine how definitions of gender and sexuality are reproduced, negotiated and deployed in the context of globalization. Through a reading of theoretical texts about globalization and ethnographic case studies of real people experience these processes, we will ask: What can we learn about gender, nation states, labour markets and globalization from studying the encounter between them? The course is loosely divided into three sections. After an introduction to the theoretic debates around engendering globalization, we will critically analyse the centrality of gender in national security, sovereignty of nation states and in policing national borders. In the next section we will discuss one of the most striking features of the contemporary global order: the feminization of the global labour force and the concomitant commodification of intimacy. The class will end with some hopeful visions: alternative discourses and transnational alliances possible in the context of this globalized and gendered world.


SOC5015S WORKERS, CHANGE AND CONTINUITY (6 weeks, 12 credits)

Convenor: Dr Faisal Garba Muhammed

The transition from Apartheid was accompanied with hopes and promises of “a better life for all”. This course explores the development of the workers movement in the struggle against Apartheid for that “better life for all”.  It examines central aspects of the lived experience of the working class post-Apartheid, exploring the role of working class organisation and action.  It is concerned with the question of change and continuity and the key issues which have emerged out of the struggle for change. These include visions of change held in the past, the meaning of such visions in the present, and their legacy for the future. Through a focus on selected organisations, events and issues, the course aims to contextualise and historicise processes of organisation and mobilisation, and examine major debates within and about these processes.  Particular attention will be paid to practices and visions of collectivism, solidarity and sharing in the context of competitive individualism.


SOC5028S ADVANCED SOCIAL THEORY (6 weeks, 12 credits)

Convenor: Dr Nomkhosi Gama

This course will examine influential social science theories from the point of view of debates in the Philosophy of Science. So, the aim is to teach students the main philosophical assumptions of influential social theories and their methodological implications.  In addition, the above implications will be studied through relevant case studies


SOC5034S GPNs, DEVELOPMENT AND DECENT WORK (6 weeks, 12 credits)

*Core course for MSocSc (Industrial Sociology) programme*

Convenor: Dr Asanda Benya

This course explores key aspects of economic development and related implications for 'decent work'. The clothing industry serves as a case study of the way that changing global patterns of consumption, labour-market characteristics and production capabilities have shaped the nature of work and wages in developing countries. We explore how the pressure on wages has been contested through the notion of decent work and through different trade union strategies. The course concludes by focusing specifically on trade union strategy and violence in South Africa, most notably with regard to violence and the struggle over wages in the mining industry. 


Term 4


SOC4003S WORLDS OF WORK (6 weeks, 12 credits)

Convenor: Bianca Tame

This course explores the global reality of deteriorating employment opportunities in relation to key debates on occupational citizenship, labour regulation and precarious livelihoods. These debates are situated in the context of addressing the decent work deficit and understanding its impact on households. By focusing on a few key themes we will pay special attention to the various claims, tensions, and contradictions that emerge in different contexts and among those seeking livelihood opportunities. 



Convenor: TBA

This is an elective course for Sociology combining the sociology of art and culture inaugurated by the classics of Sociology, the Frankfurt School and refined by Pierre Bourdieu. The traditions are read through a variety of Africanist and Post-Colonial lenses to understand the relationship between social movements in society and forms of artistic signification. It will trace how local and international aesthetic acuity is socially constructed and will provide an opportunity for serious inter-disciplinary work across continents. The course introduces students to the ways art and popular culture have been used and misused in nationalist, socialist and social movement discourses and practices in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa; how too, modernity in all contexts involved international and local entanglements and visions. It also throws new light on the way forms travel across and within social boundaries.


SOC5008S  CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL THEORY (6 weeks, 12 credits)

Convenor: Dr Faisal Garba Muhammed

The course examines the corpus of sociological theory and the role of African intellectuals in the making of the modern world. In the simplest and general terms, theories help us clear up conceptual confusion and lay down standards of intelligibility in the construction of knowledge.


SOC5011S SOCIETY AND NATURAL RESOURCES (6 weeks, 12 credits)

Convenor: Dr Frank Matose

This course examines the intersection of society, natural resources management and development practice from a social science perspective.  The course links an academic training in developmental sociology to the needs of non-profit organisations within the environmental sector in Cape Town. As part of the course, students undertake a short-term review of NPOs, government agencies or private sector organisations located within the Cape Town metropolitan area as a means for them to develop an understanding of the ‘real world’ challenges in policy and practice.



*Core course for MSocSc (Global Studies) programme*

Convenor: Bianca Tame

The World Social Forum and many social movements and other organisations organise and mobilise around the slogan: “Another world is possible”. This course examines key features of working class experience in the context of globalisation. It examines the development of unions, social movements and protest action, focusing on the collective responses of the ‘discontents’ of globalisation. The central concern is acts and processes of resistance in the context of recurring capitalist crisis, and visions of alternative central to that resistance. Though a focus on selected organisations, events and issues, the course aims to contextualise and historicise working class resistance in the lived experience of globalisation and examine major debates within and about such resistance.  Particular attention will be paid to issues of alienation and commodification in the struggle for alternatives in everyday life. Specific examples are drawn from recent South African history while the issues and questions are explored in the global context in which they exist.