Contemporary Theoratical Debates


a) To deepen knowledge and critical understanding of the Sociological theoretical and methodological framework, and apply it in diverse research settings;
b) To apply the sociological theoretical framework to the formulation and analysis of relevant scientific problems and complex social facts;
c) To combine the theoretical and methodological knowledge to design innovative research projects;
d) To frame research problems in the scientific literature, identifying gaps and opportunities for theoretical or empirical development from the relevant and up to date social scientific literature;
e) To be able to argue and discuss critical claims about their research and that of others, including ethical and social implications;
f) To be able to integrate research problems in projects or collective research lines;
g) To be able to communicate orally and in writing, the theoretical claims and research problems, in a rigorous way.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Rui Manuel Leitão da Silva Santos


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 224

Teaching language



Available soon


Alexander, J. (2005) The Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Baert, P., & Silva, F. C. (2010). Social Theory in the Twentieth Century and Beyond. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Coleman, J. (1994). Foundations of Social Theory. Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press.
Hughes, J. A., Sharrock, W. W., & Martin, P. J. (2003). Understanding Classical Sociology: Marx, Weber, Durkheim (2nd edition). London: Sage.
Martuccelli, D. (1999). Sociologies et Modernité. Paris: Gallimard.
Merton, R. K. (1967). On Theoretical Sociology: Five essays, Old and New. New York: The Free Press.
Sharrock, W. W., Hughes, J. A., & Martin, P. J. (2003). Understanding Modern Sociology. London: Sage.
Tilly, C. (2005). Trust and Rule. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Turner, J. H. (2013). Contemporary Sociological Theory. London: Sage.

Teaching method

Classes are based on the discussion of selected literature on each topic, previously provided, for which students shall submit beforehand one question which they aim to discuss or clarify. Teachers introduce the topics and moderate and steer the debates, highlighting the most relevant points and helping students overcome difficulties in understanding them.

Evaluation method

a written essay consisting of an attempt to apply concepts and issues addressed in the seminar to the theoretical articulation of the research object for their thesis project(75%), students’ attendance, the quality of their participation in the seminar debates, the quality and relevance of the questions submitted before each session(25%)

Subject matter

The syllabus is designed in order to address current issues and debates, always framed as cross-cutting issues and that have been present throughout the history of social science:
1. Rationalities, social action and emotions
2. Integration, social differentiation and conflict
3. Modern human condition, time, individuality and expression of self
4. Theories of practice and pragmatic sociology

These issues, among others, are thought to enable the mobilization and dialogue between classical and contemporary sociological scholarship.


Programs where the course is taught: