Skip to main content


Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SPA3001: Debates, Issues and Practices

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:                                

What are disciplines?  Overview of SPA and different disciplinary perspectives. Broader overview of the historical and institutional emergence and pliability of disciplines.

Approaches to Interdisciplinarity – inter, cross and multi-disciplinarity. Institutional and socio-political contexts for facilitating or undermining interdisciplinary initiatives. Examples of interdisciplinarity across social, natural, biomedical sciences and humanities. Logics of Interdisciplinarity.

Contemporary Research Topic or Current Issue – discussed from different disciplinary perspectives, and in terms of inter-disciplinary collaboration. The following topics/issues are suggestions but will be adapted in light of what is current.

  • Health and Wellbeing (eg ageing population and dementia; recent pandemic outbreaks). Anthropology, Philosophy, Sociology
  • Political and Economic Issues (eg Brexit; financial crisis; globalization). Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy
  • Disasters (eg Grenfell; Catastrophic flooding; chemical and nuclear accidents).  Criminology, Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies (STS).
  • New Media and Information Science (eg Big Data and Knowledge, machine learning and robotics; surveillance society). Philosophy, Criminology, Sociology
  • Technoscientific Innovation and Society (eg Artificial Meat; stem cells; nanotechnology). Anthropology, STS, Philosophy
  • Inequalities, Discrimination and Resistance (eg Me Too movement; Black Lives Matter; Educational Inequalities) Sociology (Q-Step), Anthropology and Philosophy
  • Nature, Animals and Environment (eg Plastic pollution, badger culling, electric/self-driving vehicles). Anthropology, STS, Philosophy
  • Employment, Families, State (eg Precarity/Precariat, neoliberal state and austerity, debt). Sociology (Q-Step), Anthropology, Criminology.

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2211 x 2-hour workshops
Guided Independent Study68Reading Assignments
Guided Independent Study60Essay Preparation (including collection of materials, and essay writing)

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).