SOCIAL DIVISIONS AND CONTEXTS - 2025/6

Module code: SOC1057

Module Overview

This module provides students with a broad introduction to the changing nature of contemporary societies through a focus on key substantive topics in sociology.

Students will learn about the core social divisions and social identities that are so important to sociological analysis, including social class, gender, race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexuality and religion. We will also examine significant social contexts and institutions within which social processes take place, including family, education, economy/work, health/medicine, community, government/ state, science/technology, media, environment and globalisation.

By considering the ways in which sociologists have conceptualised and researched these topics, students will explore their continued significance for twenty first century societies as well as individual lives. The overall aim is to provide students with a clear understanding of social inequalities and differences, alongside the social contexts and institutions that shape and are shaped by them.

Module provider

Sociology

Module Leader

DONNELLY Theo (FASS Admin)

Number of Credits: 30

ECTS Credits: 15

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 208

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 22

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative topics include the following:

Social divisions and identities: social class, poverty and wealth, gender, ¿race¿ and ethnicity, childhood, older age, disability, sexuality, and religion. 

Social contexts and institutions: family, education, economy/work, health/medicine, community, government/state, science/technology, media/the digital, environment, and globalisation.

Academic study skills: critical reading and note-taking, referencing and good academic practice (including appropriate use of generative AI), essay preparation and planning, writing assignments and developing arguments.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Essay Plan with Reference List 10
Coursework Academic Essay 40
Coursework Teaching Slides and Handout 50

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of key sociological debates about social divisions and contexts, drawing on relevant concepts, theories and research, and examples from both the local and global scale. 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. It will also encourage engagement with digital technologies in order to select, summarise and present relevant information for a specified audience.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Assessment 1: Essay Plan with Reference List (coursework), 10% (addresses LO5 and LO6) ¿ preparatory task for subsequent academic essay assessment, involving selection and presentation of appropriate sources, and consideration of relevant essay structure.

Assessment 2: Academic Essay (coursework), 40% (addresses LO1, LO3, LO4 and LO5) ¿ choice from a selection of essay titles on social divisions and identities, including discussion of a range of theories, concepts and research, drawing appropriately on academic literature, to develop a relevant argument to answer the set question.

Assessment 3: Teaching Slides and Handout (coursework), 50% (addresses LO2, LO3, LO4 and LO6) ¿ task involving development of digital teaching slides and accompanying handout to inform other students of a key debate about inequalities within two contrasting social contexts or institutions, drawing on literature to support.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will take part in group tasks in class throughout the module, on which they will receive formative feedback. Detailed guidance on how to complete the summative assessments is given in class and on Surrey Learn, and students will be provided with opportunities to ask questions and receive feedback on their developing plans. Summative feedback from Assessment 1 will act as feed-forward for Assessment 2. Formative feedback will be provided on drafts of Assessment 3 teaching slides as part of preparatory seminar activities. Written feedback is provided for all summative coursework tasks.

Module aims

  • Enable students to explore key aspects of social division in contemporary societies, including class, gender, race/ethnicity, childhood, older age, disability, sexuality, and religion, and their significance for contemporary patterns of inequality
  • Facilitate students in examining sociological debates concerning key social contexts and institutions, including family, education, economy/work, health/medicine, community.
  • Equip students to consider a range of contemporary examples from both the local and global scale, pertaining to social divisions and contexts, and the relationships between them
  • Prepare students to engage with relevant theories, concepts and research to develop a sociological perspective on contemporary social divisions and contexts
  • Develop students¿ academic reading, writing and referencing skills for studying in higher education
  • Enhance students¿ digital technology skills for selecting, summarising and presenting information

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of social division in contemporary societies CK
002 Communicate recent developments in sociological analyses of key social contexts and institutions CK
003 Select contemporary examples from both the local and global scale to illustrate discussions and arguments CK
004 Outline relevant theories, concepts and research on contemporary social divisions and contexts, and the relationships between them CK
005 Apply academic reading, writing and referencing skills for studying in higher education T
006 Employ digital technologies to select, summarise and present relevant information PT

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 set them up for a deeper exploration of those topics across the rest of the course. It should promote interest in contemporary issues and, in doing so, may help students choose their optional modules in the second and final year.

The weekly lectures will expose students to key theorists, concepts, research and debates, supported by required reading each week. The weekly seminars provide the opportunity to discuss and analyse these ideas in more depth, and work in groups on tasks that encourage critical and independent thinking, as well as offer preparation and support for assessments. The additional workshops provide practical guidance and hands-on activities to develop academic study skills, helping to equip students to reach their potential in the higher education context.

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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC1057

Other information

The School of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability - Students will develop a range of transferrable skills including critical thinking, reading and writing skills, analysis and evaluation skills, verbal communication skills, and the ability to construct and support a well-evidenced argument. Assessment 3 is particularly ¿authentic¿ in that it mirrors real-life tasks that graduates might be expected to complete in a range of relevant careers such as education, training, and management.

Digital capabilities - Students will be required to engage with digital information technologies (such as Surrey Learn, Surrey Search, Google Scholar) to access and utilise academic and media sources for class tasks and assignments. They will also be expected to produce a set of engaging slides using a digital presentation tool (such as PowerPoint, Canva, Google Slides) to present and communicate relevant information for a student audience in Assessment 3.

Global and cultural capabilities ¿ The module has been designed to draw on both local and global examples to illustrate topics covered in most of the sessions. Students will learn explicitly about globalisation and global social divisions/inequalities as key topics covered in module learning and teaching content. They will also develop their understanding of social differences such as class, gender and ethnicity, thus developing intercultural competencies.

Sustainability - Students will be equipped with the knowledge, tools and motivation needed to support and enact positive change in relation to issues of equality, diversity and social wellbeing in a range of contexts, including home, education, workplace and community. People and environment relations is also an explicit topic covered in module learning and teaching content.

Resourcefulness and resilience - Students will be required to independently plan and write essays, as well as digital teaching resources, and build their confidence and engagement through participation in seminar discussions and activities, thus contributing to a supportive learning community. They will develop key foundational academic study skills (alongside those facilitated in other modules) that will help them to navigate and succeed in a higher education environment.

 

 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sociology BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long 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 2025/6 academic year.