Sociology (SOCI) 435

Theories of Social Change (Revision 4)

SOCI 435

Revision 4 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version.

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: SOCI 335 or SOCI 337 or any 300 or 400 level Social theory course.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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SOCI 435 is not available for challenge.

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SOCI 435 surveys several different theories, concepts, and categories used by sociologists to explain social change. Students will be asked to draw from these theories and concepts when examining some of the social, economic, and political transformations occurring at the end of the twentieth century.

Course evaluation, in the form of a final assignment, research proposal, and research paper, requires you to engage the contemporary social issues discussed in your local paper or presented on websites of various social groups and institutions.

These analytical tools will provide a foundation from which students can critically assess such current social transformations as the population question, the collapse of communism and the end of the cold war, the global AIDS issue, the increasing pollution of the planet, the domination of the nation state by transnational corporations and global trading blocks, new forms of North-South imperialism, the Americanization or homogenization of global culture, the power of the worldwide news media, and more.


Sociology 435 explores contemporary expressions of this insight through the works of four social theorists: a contemporary “classical” Marxist, a radical feminist Marxist, a media theorist and a neo-liberal economist. As you complete this course, we anticipate that you will develop your ability to think critically about

  1. various theories of social change and the factors—especially those operating within the wider society—that influence the development of those theories.
  2. the impact of different theories on the societies under study, in particular, who benefits from a given theory, and who pays the price.
  3. the distinction between a historical analysis of concrete social forms and a purely descriptive analysis, and the social roles served by each type of analysis.
  4. the concrete social conflicts and contradictions that bring about social changes.
  5. the impact of ideology and its critique on global social change.


To receive credit for SOCI 435, you must complete a book review, a research proposal, a research essay, and a final assignment. You must achieve a minimum grade of 50 percent on both the final assignment and the research essay and a composite course grade of at least "D" (50 percent).

Book Review Research Essay: Proposal Essay Final Assignment Total
20% 15% 30% 35% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Federici, S. (2004). Caliban and the witch: Women, the body and primitive accumulation. Brooklyn: Autonomedia.

McNally, D. (2006). Another world is possible: Globalization and anti-capitalism (2nd ed.). Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring.

Postman, N. (1993). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York: Vintage Books.

Sachs, J. (2006). The end of poverty: Economic possibilities for our time. Toronto: Penguin Books.

Other Materials

Students will access all other materials online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, February 7, 2012

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