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[SI0075] - Inequality and Division Of Labour

Module Code: SI0075
Module Leader: Phil Brown
Year: 2
Semester: Both
Number of Credits: 20

Teaching Method: Lectures and seminars.
Assessment: Coursework (essays) 3000 words (40%) - Autumn Semester; Written examination 2 hours (60%) - Spring Semester
Degree Schemes: Education; Social Science; Sociology; BPS Social Science


Module Aims

To explore the ways in which the division of labour is reproduced, restructured and experienced in industrial and post-industrial societies.


Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Comprehension

  • Demonstrate knowledge of current debates about the impact of the global economy on the international division of labour.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the latest developments in sociological theories of the division of labour.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of competing accounts of the possible role of culture in the perpetuation and transmission of inequality.

Skills (Application and Analysis)

  • Explore the uses and abuses of the notion of meritocracy in accounting for the reproduction of social inequality, making appropriate use of empirical examples.
  • Apply new sociological ideas about the division of labour to data generated from empirical studies.
  • Provide an analytical account of research on the impact of economic globalisation on the division of labour.

Understanding (Synthesis and Evaluation)

  • Make reasoned judgements about the relative importance of the various possible causes of social inequality.
  • Show an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of sociological treatments of economic and social change and continuity.
  • Exhibit an understanding of the possibilities and limitations of national public policies designed to address social inequality.

Transferable Skills

The module will contribute to the development of the following transferable skills:

  • Ability to construct logical, coherent and creative argument; ability to apply subject knowledge to social and economic policy contexts; familiarity with labour market conditions and processes and, in particular, the changing nature of labour demand.

Synopsis of Module Content

Students will consider why the relationship between inequality and the division of labour is a subject of major sociological significance, and study the impact of economic globalisation on the division of labour. Students will also examine ethnographic studies of the reproduction of inequality.  Students will be introduced to recent innovations in sociological theory which increase our understanding of inequality and the division of labour.


Opportunities for Formative Assessment

Students submit a formative essay during the Autumn Semester. Throughout the module there will be small group discussions of selected readings and students will be given group and individual verbal feedback on their progress as appropriate.


Arrangements for Feedback on Work

Written feedback will be provided on the formative assessment submitted during the Autumn Semester and on the summative assessment submitted at the end of the Autumn Semester. Verbal feedback and
summative assessment will be given to individuals, seminar groups and lecture classes as required.


Indicative Reading

Brown, P., Lauder, H. and Ashton, D. (2011) The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs and Incomes, New York: Oxford University Press.

Fevre, R. (2003) The New Sociology of Economic Behaviour, London: Sage.

Sennett, R., (2004) Respect: the Formation of Character in an Age of Inequality, London: Penguin.

Fevre. R. (2007) ‘Employment insecurity and social theory: the power of nightmares’,  Work, Employment and Society, 21 (3), pp. 517-535.

de Botton, A. (2005) Status Anxiety. London: Penguin.

Brown, P. and Lauder, H, (2001) Capitalism and Social Progress, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Friedman, T. (2005) The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.

Marshall, G. et. al. 1997  Against the Odds? Social Class and Social Justice in Industrial Societies; Lareau, A. and Conley, D. 2008 (Eds.) Social Class: How Does it Work? New York: Russell Sage Foundation.