Module code: SOC1046

Module Overview

This module explores the role of visual representation in
the organization of social difference and considers how
through representation difference is constructed,
communicated, normalized and possibly subverted.
Representations do not simply communicate ‘reality’ but
play an active part in constructing realities and making
them ‘normal’.

Module provider


Module Leader

GRIFFITHS David (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

In considering representations of (for example) gender, sexuality, ethnicity, social class, and age, we will ask: how do representations work to communicate understandings of these aspects of social life? We will also consider the role of representation in the creation and transmission of ideologies and discourses that come to position us as subjects and provide us with symbolic resources through which we mediate our social interactions. Accordingly, this module will draw upon the work of key theorists in semiotics (Barthes, Saussure) and employ a diverse body of theory (from, for example, feminism, Marxism, and post-structuralism) to encourage a ‘de-construction’ of social representation.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation ONLINE DISCUSSION 50
Coursework PORTFOLIO 50

Alternative Assessment

Alternative Assessment: a short essay concerning methods of analysing representations to replace Class Participation exercises in late summer resit period 10%

Assessment Strategy

Assessed by formative in-class exercises and informal feedback. Assessed summatively by in-class and online activities and a portfolio of critical reflections.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  •  A portfolio comprising 4 critical reflections (400 words each) plus an introduction (200 words) and conclusion (200 words) on material covered across the workshops. Total words 2000.

  • Class participation exercise sheets and online participation on SurreyLearn

Formative assessment and feedback

  • Students receive formative verbal feedback each week during workshops, following up on activities they have undertaken such as interpreting representations and answering questions on the set reading.

  • There will be an opportunity for students to submit draft versions of critical reflections detailed formative feedback.

  • Feedback will be given online for online participation.

Module aims

  • Provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the important role of visual representation in social life. Throughout
    the module students will critically engage with a range of popular cultural forms: film, television, advertisements etc.
    to consider how such forms both produce and communicate the key differences that comprise contemporary social life.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Have developed a sociological understanding of visual representation and its role in the organization of social life. KC
002 Be able to critically engage with visual representations to determine their content. KCPT
003 Understand how social difference is produced, communicated, sustained and possibly subverted in and by representation. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Enable students to achieve the module learning outcomes through a range of pedagogic methods. These include lectures to important new knowledge to students; workshops based around ‘homework’ tasks which are brought into the classroom and discussed with peers which are designed to embed lecture material in practical activities; and whole group discussions to ensure students receive informal feedback.

The learning and teaching methods include: ·

  • Workshops, composed of lectures, practical activities and discussions (12 x 2 hours)

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC1046

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

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 2023/4 academic year.