Module code: SOC1022

Module Overview

This module provides a broad introduction to the changing nature of contemporary societies with particular emphasis on the core social divisions so important to sociological analysis. We will consider the different ways in which sociologists have conceptualised and researched social class, gender, sexuality, ‘race’ and migration exploring their continuing significance in contemporary Western societies and individual lives. The aim is to provide students with a clear understanding of the operation of relations of domination, subordination and difference in twenty-first century societies.

Module provider


Module Leader

HARMAN Vicki (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: L300

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Class and classical theory (Marx, Weber)

  • Class and culture (Bourdieu, Skeggs)

  • Class and social mobility (Giddens, Beck, Savage, Devine)

  • Gender (Connell, Crompton, hooks)

  • Gender and sexuality (Fraud, Foucault, Butler)

  • Gender and multiculturalism (Okin, Volpp)

  • ‘Race’, racism and the legacy of Empire (Solomos, Goldberg)

  • ‘Race’, ethnicity and migration (Hall)

  • Diaspora, youth culture and popular music (Gilroy)

Citizenship (Soysal, Isin, Ong)

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 1500 WORD ESSAY 40
Coursework 2000 WORD ESSAY 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of key sociological debates. It will enable them to demonstrate their ability to construct an argument in relation to these debates that is well structured, well supported with academic literature and shows an appreciation of academic techniques and practices.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         1500 word essay (due in week 5)

·         2500 word essay (due in week 12)

Formative assessment and feedback

Students do group tasks in seminars on which they receive feedback throughout the term. They also receive detailed feedback on their first essay which is in week 5.

Module aims

  • Explore key aspects of social division in contemporary societies
  • To consider some of the theoretical paradigms through which these social divisions have been understood alongside the historical, social and political contexts in which they are lived and experienced.
  • Give grounding in the core study skills required to undertake undergraduate study, including email, referencing, and issues around plagiarism.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Ref
1 Describe key aspects of social differentiation in contemporary societies and understand the primary political concerns that dominate discussion of social divisions today. KC
2 To outline the key theoretical positions through which social divisions have been understood, as well as the major areas of social change these theoretical developments relate to KC
3 Understand the structural and individual experiences of inequalities, difference and in/exclusion KC
4 Be familiar with core study skills and be able to implement these in academic work. T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to provide students with an introduction to key topics in sociology, and in doing so set them up for a deeper exploration of those topics in the rest of the course. It should promote interest in contemporary issues and, in doing so, may help them choose their optional courses in the third year. The lectures will expose students to key theorists and key debates and these will be supported by required reading each week. The seminars provide the opportunity to discuss these ideas in more depth and work in groups on particular tasks which encourage them to think critically and independently. These seminar tasks will be constructively aligned with the assessment tasks.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 1 hour lecture per week x 11 weeks

  • 1 hour seminar per week x 11 weeks

  • Weekly readings and seminar preparation

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.