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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 04/07/2022 11:44:11

Title of Module: Art, Culture and Society

Code: SOCY09059 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Carlton  Brick

Summary of Module

This module will introduce students to the study of art and culture from a social science perspective. Students will engage with and critically evaluate theories and models that examine the contested concepts of art and culture and the different ways in which these concepts are defined. Learners will examine the ways in which art and culture are produced and consumed and how they are shaped by and are functions of the social world. A focus will be placed on the social, economic and political nature of art and culture, both historically and in the contemporary context, and learners will be encouraged to develop a reflexive understanding of the lived experience of art and culture. 

As a broad introduction to the module, the first section will introduce learners to the concepts of art and culture, considering their contested nature, and extending learners’ understanding of the production and consumption of art and culture. It will consider the concepts of fine and popular art and high and popular culture, examining the ways in which these concepts have been constructed and how society has been stratified along lines of artistic and cultural engagement. 

The second section will critically examine the influence of classical and contemporary theorists whose work has been instrumental in examining and exploring the field of art and culture. A key focus will be placed on the social, economic and political nature of art and culture, both historically and in the contemporary context.


  • To introduce students to the study of art and culture from a social science perspective

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of key theoretical approaches to the study of art and culture.

L2. Critically analyse and evaluate theoretical positions, concepts and issues relating to the contested nature of the study of art and culture.

L3. Communicate complex ideas and concepts relating to the evaluation of art and culture in appropriate audio/visual or written form

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Demonstrating a broad and integrated knowledge and understanding of art and culture and the way in which the concepts of art and culture are socially constructed;

Demonstrating a critical understanding of a range of theoretical perspectives and approaches relating to the social scientific engagement with art and culture.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Retrieving, interpreting, employing and referencing specialized knowledge and information from a variety of primary and secondary sources which examine engagement with art and culture in the social sciences;

Conceiving, developing and producing a substantial piece of written work evaluating some key aspects of theoretical approaches to the study of art and culture.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Developing reasoned argument, synthesising relevant information and exercising critical judgement in the analysis of complex theoretical theories and perspectives;

Critically engaging with own learning through the use of self-identified visual media to deliver assessed presentation.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Communicating complex ideas effectively and fluently, visually, orally and in writing through the assessment mechanisms of the electronic presentation

Making effective use of information retrieval systems and using information technology applications to research assessment material.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Exercising autonomy and initiative while developing the capacity for independent work;

Developing the capacity to engage in constructive criticism through the critical discussion of peers’ audio/visual presentations.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Staff/student face-to-face contact will take place primarily through lectures and tutorials. Lectures will examine key theories and issues central to the study of art and culture from the perspective of the social sciences. Tutorials will be focused on engaging students in the discussion of the theories and issues covered in the lectures and on the development of key competencies related to the tutorial learning experience. Tutorials will be learner led, with learners working in peer groups. The module will also have an extensive online presence and learners will engage in a number of synchronous and asynchronous online learning and assessment activities, primarily through the module Moodle site. A central focus of the learning, teaching and assessment approach on the module lies in developing learners’ understanding of the processes of learning, engaging them in the development of the information, communication and digital literacies and skills that will support them not only as undergraduate students but as lifelong learners. To further support this, there will be an explicit engagement with personal development planning and reflective practice, supporting learners in the production of a reflective portfolio.

This module will support the acquisition and development of graduate attributes and employability, lifelong learning and citizenship competencies by:

1) Surfacing assessment-employability linkages to ensure the skills and competencies learners are developing are made explicit and allowing learners to evidence the development of these skills and competencies.

2) Supporting learners in the development of digital literacies through, for example, the use of online research engines and electronic tools. Learners will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their digital skills and competencies and develop their understanding of ‘digital influence’;

3) Providing learners with the opportunity to work with peers in order to develop leadership and negotiation skills and support the development of diversity awareness and interpersonal sensitivity;

4) Supporting learners in the development of self-reflection and evaluation skills and competencies through the explicit focus on personal development planning and the production of a reflective portfolio.

The assessment structure on this module is designed to explicitly support learners in the development of the competencies identified below:

Assessment - Competencies developed
Cognitive - Synthesis
Generic - Criticising
Personal development/citizenship - Self-motivation/cultural awareness

This module will be assessed by a single assessment in the form of an essay, which is supported by an assessment rubric.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery26
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity10
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop4
Independent Study160
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Adorno, T. (1990) The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. London: Routledge.

Becker, H.S. (2008) Art Worlds. Updated and expanded 25th anniversary ed. London: University of California Press.

Benjamin, W. (2008) Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media Paperback. London: Harvard University Press.

Rothenburg, J. (2014) Sociology Looks at the Arts. London: Routledge.

Tanner, J. (2003) Sociology of Art. London: Routledge.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelSocial Sciences
External ExaminerR Ryder
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
One assessment in essay format
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck mark1000
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.