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[SI0237] - Introduction to Sociology, Society and Social Change

Module Code: SI0237
Module Leader: Robin Smith
Year: 1
Semester: Both
Number of Credits: 20

Teaching Method: Lectures and seminars consisting of empirical studies and directed reading
Assessment: Coursework (Essays) 3000 words (50%) - Autumn Semester; Written examination 2 hours (50%)  - Spring Semester
Degree Schemes: Criminology; Education; Social Science; Sociology


Module Aims

This module introduces students to Sociology and the understanding and analysis of Society. The module will introduce key social institutions such as the family, work and employment and the development of the modern state. Social change will be addressed in relation to political, social, cultural and economic transformations relevant to the UK. The impact and implication of Globalisation will be a central theme in approaching contemporary change.  The module is delivered using dedicated lectures, seminars and directed reading.


Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Comprehension

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of major social institutions and structures in the UK and how these have changed over time.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the major dimensions of social inequality in contemporary society.
  • Demonstrate an ability to draw on relevant sociological theories and empirical studies in analysing social institutions and structures.
  • Outline the significance and impact of globalisation upon contemporary society.

Skills (Application and Analysis)

  • Present an analytical account of major social institutions and structures in the UK and the major changes that have occurred over time combining evidence and argument.
  • Undertake and present structured academic work on major dimensions of inequality drawing on a range of appropriate sources.
  • Provide an account of social change that includes both societal and global aspects.
  • The module will also contribute to the development of transferable skills including:
  • The preparation and presentation of scholarly work; accessing, reading and interpreting social scientific data; written and verbal communication skills; familiarity with a range of ITC systems.

Understanding (Synthesis and Evaluation)

  • Provide a synthesis of major features of contemporary society in relation to the social, economic and political changes that have constituted them.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the processes of social change drawing on empirical materials and competing explanations.
  • Be able to evaluate, analyse and apply sociological explanations of specific changes in social institutions and social relations.

Transferable Skills

  • The module will contribute to the development of the following transferable skills: Preparing and presenting scholarly work; reading and interpreting social scientific data; communication skills.

Synopsis of Module Content

The module will provide a systematic introduction to major sociological concepts and substantive areas of sociological work on contemporary societies. Empirical materials will also be drawn from international examples highlighting the importance of global processes. The module is thematically structured and
will include the following areas of study: sociological perspectives on contemporary societies; dimensions of social inequality (social stratification, ‘race’ and ethnicity’ gender and sexuality, global inequality, poverty, age and generation); social institutions and organisations (families, work, consumption, leisure, the
state, health and welfare); social and sociological change (globalisation, environment, risk, culture and identity, social movements).


Opportunities for Formative Assessment

Formative assessment will involve the preparation and presentation of a detailed outline of a topic which can become the basis of a summative essay.


Arrangements for Feedback on Work

Students will receive written feedback on the formative essay plan in the Autumn semester. Module tutors will also be available to give private oral feedback. In the Spring semester generic oral feedback will be given on essay performance.


Indicative Reading

Chesters, G. & Welsh I. (2011) Social Movements: The Key Concepts (London: Routledge).

Dicks, B. (2004) Culture on Display: the Production of Contemporary Visitability. (Maidenhead: Open University Press).

Eriksen, T. H. (2007). Globalization the Key Concepts, (Oxford: Berg).

Fulcher,J. & Scott, J. (2011) Sociology 4th edition (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

Grint, K. (1988) The Sociology of Work, (Cambridge: Polity Press).

Macionis J. & Plummer K. (2012) Sociology: A Global Introduction 5th Ed. (published 2011) (Harlow: Pearson).

Mills, C.W. (1970) The Sociological Imagination, (Harmondsworh: Penguin). Various Editions.

Modood, T. (2007) Multiculturalism (Cambridge: Polity Press).

Ritzer, G. (1993) The McDonaldisation of Society, (Thous and Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press)