Module code: SOC1049

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

HEMMING Peter (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 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Introduction to Social Divisions and Social Identities
Social class
Class, culture and taste
Understanding poverty
Gender and sexuality
Ethnicity and racism
Health, illness and disability
Global social divisions

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY 1 50
Coursework ESSAY 2 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of key sociological debates about social divisions. 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:

  • 2 x coursework essays

Formative assessment and feedback

Students take part in group tasks in class on which they receive feedback throughout the semester. Written feedback is provided on essays. Guidance on the assessments is given in class.


Module aims

  • To 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
  • To consider the extent of change in relation to social divisions and social identities over time

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe key aspects of social differentiation in contemporary societies and understand the primary political concerns that dominate discussion of social divisions today. CK
002 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 CK
003 Understand the structural and individual experiences of inequalities, difference and in/exclusion CK
004 To consider the extent of change and continuity in relation to major social divisions and social identities CK

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 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

  • 1 hour captured content per week x 11 weeks

  • 1 hour guided learning per week x 11 weeks

  • Independent learning (including reading and assessment 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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC1049

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 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.