Societal problems

Course content

In this first semester course, we identify and discuss a number of current local and global societal problems.


Through the lens of these various societal problems, students will examine some of the major theoretical and conceptual discussions within sociology.  Critically, the course will look at the same societal problem through a variety of theoretical lens’, to illustrate how the theoretical starting point shapes our understanding of the problem and the way we research it.


Further, students will read and consider empirical studies on these topics and explore how theory has more or less framed them, and whether and how empirical analyses challenge and extend these theoretical insights.


The specific societal problems to be considered will be determined annually – based on discussions with the course leaders for ‘Sociology in Danish society’ and ‘Sociology theorical in a historical perspective’ and based on the lecturers available to teach it.


Some of the same problems will be examined in the course ‘Sociology in Danish society’, where they will be considered in a more local and applied context.


Compulsery course on the 1st semester BSc in Sociology.

Please note:

This course is not open to credit- and Exchange students



Learning outcome


After completing the course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify and be able to illustrate that there are several ways of looking at, researching and understanding current societal problems, using different theoretical approaches.
  • Investigate how different societal problems are connected, but also be able to hone in on investigating and understanding one particular societal problem.
  • Describe the significance of theory, history, current politics, various organisations and individual actors in the understanding and definition of a societal problem.



More specifically, the student will be able to:

  • Both skim and read in-depth different types of sociological texts, identifying the central arguments (both in theoretical and more empirically descriptive texts)
  • Illustrate how different theories are make sense of societal problems and / or highlight how and why they might understand them differently.
  • Be able to search for relevant material when investigating a specific societal problem.



At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Select and discuss how different theories define and delineate of a given societal problem.
  • Position a societal problem in relation to other problems.
  • Suggest how a theoretical lens on a particular societal problem also offers possible ways of tackling such a problem.
  • Begin to elaborate how different theoretical approaches to a societal problem could inform the development of a broader sociological (empirical) study on the issue.

Lectures, small group supervision, student-led presentations and group writing

The curriculum will be revised for each new iteration of the course.  It has not yet been finalised.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Students will actively comment on other students’ presentations and inputs, as well as nominating two student representatives to work with the course leader to ensure all students can feedback on how well the course is being facilitated to meet their learning needs.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Course participation, -
Type of assessment details
Active participation on this course involves four deliverables: orally presenting the analysis of two contemporary societal problems during the course, and writing up the analysis of two contemporary societal problems. The submission of the two written contemporary societal problems will be: first piece during the course, date to be announced; and the second, on the last day of the course. The exact format for the oral presentations and the written submissions will be shared at the beginning of the course.
Exam registration requirements

You need to be signed up for the course to attend the exam

All aids allowed


Policy on the Use of Generative AI Software and Large Language Models in Exams

The Department of Sociology prohibits the use of generative AI software and large language models (AI/LLMs), such as ChatGPT, for generating novel and creative content in written exams. However, students may use AI/LLMs to enhance the presentation of their own original work, such as text editing, argument validation, or improving statistical programming code. Students must disclose in an appendix if and how AI/LLMs were used; this appendix will not count toward the page limit of the exam. This policy is in place to ensure that students’ written exams accurately reflect their own knowledge and understanding of the material.

Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Find more information on your study page at KUnet.



Free written take-home essay 

Pass / Fail

Criteria for exam assessment

Please see the learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 164
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level

1 semester

See Timetable
Vejl. 120 personer
Department of Sociology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Sociology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Claire Maxwell   (2-717b4e817d713c79833c7279)
Saved on the 21-09-2023

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Courseinformation of students