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Registration information

Entry requirements: Bachelor's degree including 90 credits in Social Sciences as the main field of study, and English B or equivalent.

Selection: On the basis of previous university credits. Between 30 and 285 credits may be taken into account.

  • Cancelled AS17 week 35-39, fulltime100%, day. Application code: SH-43147

Theory of Knowledge

Course 7,5 credits

How is reality composed and how can we become knowledgeable about it? Is what we perceive as reality just a mental construction? Or should we, as guardians of knowledge, presuppose that the reality we are studying exists, regardless of human ideas? This course offers students the tools to understand the dynamics of knowledge within the social sciences and to give contextual meaning to different schools of thought. The course begins with a historical perspective, analysing the dominant modernist theories and theoretical schools, as well as alternative ones. Following this, the course confronts and compares different theoretical positions; social constructionism is confronted with critical realism, and interpretation theory (hermeneutics) with an empirical, positivistic view of knowledge.

The information below comes from the syllabus and is valid from: autumn semester 2017

Course design

Lectures and obligatory seminars.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student is able to:

  • describe historically dominant theoretical perspectives in the social sciences, both in Sweden and other countries
  • describe some fundamental ontological positions in classic modernisation and alternative theories
  • describe contemporary social constructivist and critical realist approaches to the explanation of societal phenomena, plus their respective ontological and epistemological assumptions
  • differentiate the epistemological assumptions underlying various social and political theories
  • evaluate the relationship between various theoretical approaches and the role of social science knowledge production in society


Seminar participation and written course exercises, plus a written take-home exam.
Occasional absence from a seminar can be compensated for by a written exercise, as advised by the examiner.

Grading criteria will be distributed at course/module start.

Syllabus valid from autumn semester 2017

The above information and syllabus are based on the most recently validated decision. Any previous versions are available here.


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