Sociology and Cultural Studies BA

Sociology

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
ABB-BBB
UCAS code:
LRH9
Start date:
September 2017

Explore the links between the media, culture and society, and develop the skills to analyse cultural products such as the mass media.

You can choose from a range of modules to suit your interests from identity to globalisation and culture. And to support your career development, you benefit from opportunities to work on research projects.

A joint honours degree was a really good way of being able to develop more than one area of specialisation without having to compromise.”Abigail Williams
Sociology and Cultural Studies BA

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

ABB-BBB

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

Advanced Diploma

Typical offer

Pass with grade B in the Diploma and an A in the Additional and Specialist Learning.

Subjects

The Additional and Specialist Learning must be an A-level (ideally in a humanities or social science subject).

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma

Typical offer

DDM

Subjects

The BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma would normally be in Health & Social Care, IT or Public Services.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

BBBBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma

Typical offer

Grade B and BB in two A-levels.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 75%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually don’t accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses.

However, we do accept one of the following qualifications for our International Foundation Years:  

  • Senior High 2 at an average grade of 75% with a minimum of five academic subjects including key subjects
  • Senior High 3 at an average of 70% or above in a minimum of four academic subjects including key subjects.

If you successfully complete the International Foundation Year you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. 

Check which qualifications we accept for the International Foundation Year.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 5.5.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 12.5/20

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.2 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at BBBBBB.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 78/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole- Pass with an overall average of 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 7.5.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language. 

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

 

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% or Grade 3

 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

InterviewNo
Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • Social sciences at Sussex is ranked 39th in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018).
  • Sociology at Sussex was ranked joint 1st for employment prospects in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2018).
  • Be inspired by researchers specialising in health, medicine and science, gender and inequality, identity and everyday life, migration, social theory and political sociology, and crime and transgression.

Course information

How will I study?

You are introduced to key themes and perspectives in sociology. You also explore sociological work examining diverse aspects of contemporary life in Britain and beyond. This includes looking at social diversity, and class and gender inequalities.

You explore what is exciting about a cultural studies approach, through practical activities, lectures, reading and participation in seminars. Exploring the ideas of key theorists gives you insight into the complex nature of common aspects of life – from celebrity to art to the everyday.

Modules

Core modules

How will I study?

You learn to frame sociological questions and apply social research methods to find answers. You engage with popular culture as a phenomenon that alters in different contexts.

You explore popular culture, engaging with debates about class, taste, identity and cultural power. Work by geographers, anthropologists or cultural studies scholars is also drawn on in different modules to open up the theme of culture and space.

You study topics including:

  • deviance
  • cultural and sociological theory
  • globalisation, political institutions and action.

Modules

Core modules

Options

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period in any country or optional placement in the USA. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

“It was sociology that offered, for me, the best tools to explore ordinary people’s lives and experiences.” Dr Laura MorosanuLecturer in Sociology

Fees

UK/EU students:
£9,250 per year
Channel Islands and Isle of Man students:
£9,250 per year
International students:
£15,100 per year
Study abroad:
Find out about grants and funding, tuition fees and insurance costs for studying abroad
Placement:
Find out about tuition fees for placements

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Graduate destinations

96% of students from the Department of Sociology were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates have started jobs as:

  • client relationship manager, Revised Digital Media
  • account assistant, Freuds
  • marketing intern, Ecobank Ghana.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

Get the training and knowledge for graduate careers in welfare, social services, education, and cultural and arts organisations.

You’ll gain skills essential for research and policy-related roles, or carry onto further study and research, including:

    • communication
    • problem-solving
    • data analysis.

And to help you apply for graduate schemes and jobs in the public, private, and voluntary sectors, you can attend specialist career workshops and sessions.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

A Sociology of 21st Century Britain

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module will use contemporary Britain as an empirical base for exploring wider sociological perspectives. As an introductory degree level sociology module the emphasis is on developing a sociological sensibility to the social world. The questions that will be posed throughout the module are how are sociological explanations derived? how do different people come to different conclusions about similar social phenomena? what is distinct about sociological explanations - as opposed to those from other disciplines?

The relationship between empiricism and theory will be explored using examples from recent sociological research. The topics chosen broadly reflect established key themes in sociology however the exemplar material will be drawn from studies no older than five years. We shall be looking at how sociologists have interrogated a range of issues in 21st century Britain including work and employment, family, sport, intimacy, life online, nationalism, death and wealth. 

The first engagement with degree level sociology should be exciting and the module is designed to demonstrate the capacity of sociology to explore the social world in interesting, challenging and critical ways.

Practising Cultural Studies

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Learn to use cultural studies' approaches to explore life in the globalised world of the 21st century.

The first few weeks are devoted to describing, debating and historicising some key areas of cultural life – home, work, leisure, city. In the second half of term, you're introduced to contested cultural ideas and debate concepts such as taste, individualism and humanity. Using cross-cultural and historical skills (developed in the first half of the module), you explore issues pertinent to these concepts.

You'll be guided in focused cross-disciplinary study through carefully directed research tasks and reading on these topics.

Themes and Perspectives in Sociology I

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Modern sociology developed in the 19th century in tandem with the rise of industrial capitalist society. It had a number of key concerns that reflected the structure of – and changes in – society at the time. These concerns have continued to preoccupy sociologists in the context of contemporary societies, which have redefined key categories and experiences.

This module looks at such themes and at sociological perspectives on them as they have developed in both classical and contemporary forms of the discipline.

Culture Across Space and Time

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module examines the relationship of culture to place, difference and identity. Drawing on key theoretical debates and case studies, culture will be explored in the context of social change and crises, incorporating topics such as:

  • the impact of globalisation and transnationalism on everyday life
  • the impact of consumption on behaviour and life choices
  • the changing relations of multiculturalism, racism and marginalisation
  • and the representation of culture in public spaces.

Throughout the module cultural issues will be deciphered through the prism of racial, ethnic, class and gender relations at local and global levels.

Culture and the Everyday

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Explore 'doing culture' in everyday life.

If the 'everyday' refers to the mundane, the unremarkable – to the forms of life routinely taken for granted – it is also through the practices of everyday life that we experience who we are, how our lives are invested with meanings, and how we engage with change.

In the modern world (especially in the developed north), it's difficult to think about cultures of everyday life without also considering the media and its contribution to the structuring of daily life, its varied use in daily life, and its discursive construction and engagement with aspects of everyday life. We introduce you to critical approaches to everyday life, including those engaging with media, before concentrating on a series of case studies.

Topics are likely to be organised around 'embodiment' and 'mobility' and could include getting dressed, meal times, time for love, driving and shopping. We provide historical and cross-cultural material and encourage study of other cultures. You'll also have the opportunity to reflect on your own experiences.

Making the Familiar Strange

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Your studies in this module are based on the question - how do sociologists do sociology?

In this module, you are introduced to epistemological and methodological issues in sociology.

From your engagement with epistemology, methodological questions arise. You address these questions, largely demonstrated through examples.

As part of the module, you explore particular epistemological approaches and reflect on worked examples of these.

You do this by counterpoising classic sociological studies with contemporary examples - critically examining the similarities and differences in epistemological and methodological approaches.

The examples you look at in this module open up space for discussion about appropriate ways of understanding social phenomena with particular ontological and epistemological frames.

Themes and Perspectives in Sociology II

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Modern sociology developed in the 19th century in tandem with the rise of industrial capitalist society. It had a number of key concerns that reflected the structure of – and changes in – society at the time. These concerns have continued to preoccupy sociologists in the context of contemporary societies, which have redefined key categories and experiences.

This module looks at such themes and at sociological perspectives on them as they have developed in both classical and contemporary forms of the discipline.

Doing Social Research: working with quantitative data

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The aim of this module is to introduce students to different ways of designing and doing social research. In this part we focus on basic features of quantitative survey research, both analysing other people's research (using secondary data) and creating your own. In Part II we focus on different methods of qualitative data collection and analysis. The aim of the module is to give you important skills for life as well as the labour market, and more prosaically to prepare you to carry out project work in the third year. In both halves of this module you build up activities week by week to carry out a kind of 'pilot' or 'mini-project' on a topic of your choice. This is more closely supported than in year 3: you will discuss ideas for the project in your workshops; you will be helped to apply for ethical review; you will have formative feedback on your proposals and your research instruments (in this case surveys) and lots of help in workshops to bring it all together.

Theory Taste and Trash A

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module introduces cultural studies students to theories of good taste and popular culture. It gives a historically-­rooted account of how the study of popular culture came to be established in British higher education, and considers the key theoretical approaches that helped to shape those studies. The module explores the meeting of popular culture and 'the academy', and the intriguing questions it continues to pose concerning hierarchies of taste, questions of value, and definitions of educational worth.

A series of lectures will offer you a historical overview and an introduction to the influence of key writers, theorists and approaches, while the module seminars will encourage you to engage critically with significant texts in the field (from writers such as Hall, Bourdieu and Bakhtin). You will test the interpretive frameworks these texts offer by undertaking some case study analyses of contemporary popular cultural texts and practices (in fields such as television, music, the leisure industries and youth culture).

Doing Social Research: working with qualitative data

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

You will be introduced to thinking about how to conduct sociological research using different methods. In this part you will focus on qualitative approaches. You will be introduced to debates in the social sciences related to research design, epistemology and studying sensitive and ethical issues, and will get practical experience in key methods for gathering and analysing qualitative data including interviewing, participant observation and textual analysis. Assessment will include a mini- or 'pilot' project carried out using one method.

Beyond the Vote: Citizenship and Participation in Sociology

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

Citizenship and participation is a module looking at the sociology of political involvement beyond the vote. It introduces different forms and sites of citizenship in the contemporary state - in relation to welfare, health, work, consumption, family life and the city or urban community - and also considers different expressions of social or civic activism, from volunteering to violent protest. The use and limitations of direct democratic experiments is examined, through analysis of various types of deliberative forum and citizen polling, and we consider the appeal of notions of 'responsibility' and 'choice'. You will learn through examining specific cases each week.

Classical Sociological Theory

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The aim of this module is to provide a reasonably comprehensive introduction to classical sociological theories and theorists and issues arising from their work. We will cover classical sociological theory from its origins in the Enlightenment period to the post World War II period. The module is concerned with these broad movements of thought with a focus on specific theorists and a close reading of extracts from classic texts. You will acquire an in-depth knowledge of the work of major classical sociological theorists.

Migration and Integration (Aut)

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you examine key questions and theoretical approaches related to the process of migration, the integration of migrants and their children in their societies of settlement, and their ongoing connections to the home communities.

These aspects are addressed in comparative perspective and illustrated with studies from Western Europe and North America.

Looking at the experience of documented and undocumented migrants, low-skilled and high-skilled workers, intra-European mobility and lifestyle migration, you:

  • develop an appreciation for the increasing variety and complexity of migration and integration patterns.
  • explore discussions of migrants' integration at destination and their 'home'-oriented ties and practices, evaluating the possibility, benefits, and constraints of living in more than one society.

You learn about:

  • the determinants and process of migration, highlighting the role of networks in migration decisions, routes, and destinations.
  • the context of reception by looking at state responses and attempts to control migration, and reactions to newcomers from the local population.
  • patterns of integration of migrants and their children.
  • theoretical models and studies on how migrants settle and fare in their host society, from an economic and socio-cultural perspective.
  • recent, transnationalist, approaches that bring migrants' home society into focus and emphasise the continuity of ties with the place of origin.
  • migrants' cross-border practices, activities and identities
  • how migration transforms home communities.

You also question if integration in the host society and transnational engagement are competing or compatible processes.

Resistance Movements in Conflict & War

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you examine the sociology of war by investigating the intersection between violence, politics, social and economic issues, and human rights.

You undertake a sociological and criminological exploration of various groups throughout history who have 'broken the law' in order to achieve some type of positive social change.

You explore a range of interesting academic theories and concepts, including social movement theory, resistance theory, and other related issues around collective behaviour, rational choice theory, and framing, for example.

You put these theories into context by studying various groups who achieved what is now generally deemed to be positive social change throughout history. These may include various resistance movements against the Third Reich during World War II, and Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, for example.

You also examine changing political and social values, ideologies and goals of resistance movements, where support and condemnation have been attached to
the same group over a relatively short period of time, including the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Sociology of Everyday Life

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The aim of this module is to encourage you to think sociologically about everyday life, by 'making the familiar strange'. You are asked to suspend any taken for granted assumptions you have about the rules and routines of social life, and instead to question these patterns of behaviour from the perspective of an external observer.

The module will introduce you to some of the key theories of interpretivist social theory, such as ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism, and encourage you to look for the unspoken rules and norms of behaviour that govern social life in different contexts. Thus the substantive topics to be covered include the home and domestic routines, interaction on the street, shopping and consumption, eating and drinking rituals, time and schedules, shyness and embarrassment, holidays and leisure, and the sociology of sleep. There will be a session about (and where possible, a visit to) the Mass Observation archive, which you will be encouraged to use as a source of data. An exercise will be set each week relating to the topics; the collection of these exercises will be submitted as part of the assessment task. You will also be asked to give a non-assessed presentation on a text from one week of the module.

Sociology of Medicine and Health

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The module begins by considering the relationship between socio-economic inequality and health outcomes industrialiSed countries, especially in Britain. You then examines the role played by the state, and the National Health Service in particular, in the heath of the nation. The position of medical and health professionals is also analysed in order to understand processes of professionalization and medicalization. Attention then turns to medicines themselves, how they are tested for safety and effectiveness by the pharmaceutical industry and how this process in regulated by governments. The implications of pharmaceuticals and drug prescribing for public health will be carefully scrutinised. You will also gain sociological insights into reproductive technologies and some of the health and social implications of the 'new genetics'. Finally, the module discussed lay public and mass media perspectives on medicine.

Culture and Representation

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you focus on the anthropological master trope of 'culture' and on the political dimensions of representing culture or 'cultures'.

You consider how anthropological understandings of 'culture', as well as anthropologists' modes of analysing and representing it in anthropological work, developed over the 20th century, partially in conversation with other disciplines.

You also examine how 'culture' operates as a key idea in the public domain, used by politicians, community and human rights activists, artists, scientists, museum curators and others, in relation to a wide range of issues and debates when distinctions between 'ourselves' and 'others' are at stake.

Finally, you look at some activities within the cultural domain (such as music, dance, theatre, verbal artistry), which have a performative dimension. You consider how anthropologists have approached these activities to address questions about structure and agency, embodiment, experience, art and aesthetics, creativity, power and protest.

 

Culture and Representation

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you focus on the anthropological master trope of 'culture' and on the political dimensions of representing culture or 'cultures'.

You consider how anthropological understandings of 'culture', as well as anthropologists' modes of analysing and representing it in anthropological work, developed over the 20th century, partially in conversation with other disciplines.

You also examine how 'culture' operates as a key idea in the public domain, used by politicians, community and human rights activists, artists, scientists, museum curators and others, in relation to a wide range of issues and debates when distinctions between 'ourselves' and 'others' are at stake.

Finally, you look at some activities within the cultural domain (such as music, dance, theatre, verbal artistry), which have a performative dimension. You consider how anthropologists have approached these activities to address questions about structure and agency, embodiment, experience, art and aesthetics, creativity, power and protest.

Culture, Race and Ethnicity

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you examine the relationship between ideas of culture, race and ethnicity, both historically and in contemporary society.

You'll study a range of empirical examples that demonstrate how the concepts have been used - sometimes separately, sometimes in interlocking ways - in political projects or movements. Particular focus will be placed on the construction of 'whiteness'.

Examples may include:

  • the use of race in nineteenth century colonial administration
  • the politics of ethnicity in post-war London
  • the rise of the new right in contemporary Europe.

Gender, Space and Culture

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Why is space important to our understanding of communication? How do subjects travel through space in order to construct narratives of identity? How are spaces moralised, sexed and gendered? How do they accrue significance or symbolism?

In the last decade there has been a convergence across many academic disciplines to comprehend spatiality. Social spaces are never empty or static, they are full of the shifting dynamics of power and politics. On this module you will study to what extent gender is articulated in public and private spaces, so that they may be considered to be predominantly feminine, masculine, queer or transgendered. You will also examine how spaces and places are dynamic, unstable and mutable in relation to competing social differences. We will look at a variety of sites of the everyday, from the domestic to the visual, from bodies to landscape and virtual realities using key theoretical concepts such as 'performativity', 'representation' and 'transectionality' to interpret how our culture is thoroughly imbued with gendered and spatialized assumptions.

Topics may include: thinking about gendered journeys such as package holidays or migration; the boundaries and borders of the self; the national and the global; social inclusion and exclusion; and representations of the feminized underclass, or the masculinized professional. We will also consider queer cultural geographies as represented in films; 'freaky bodies' and transexuality online; and the spatial politics of protest on the streets and in the home.

Power, Deviance and Othering

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module falls into two parts. In the first part, the concepts of crime, deviance and social control will be considered alongside the exploration of the sociological explanations for the existence of crime and deviance in society. The module will also critically examine the data sources used to support these perspectives. In the second part of the module, these perspectives will be applied to the study of substantive areas of deviance comprising institutions of social control (the police, the courts and prisons); the distribution of crime and the use of official statistics; the mass media; juvenile delinquency; mental illness; and sexuality.

Race: Conflict and Change

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will examine and explore the issues of race, racism, racial conflict and race relations in contemporary Britain (Please note: although we will mainly refer to Britain, examples from other countries in Europe and the West will be frequently used). Beginning with colonial discourses of the racial 'other', the post-1945 period following the start of mass colonial immigration to Britain, through to the present day you will examine the various historical, social, political, economic and cultural forces and processes through which the concept of race and the racialised subject have been constructed, shaped and changed over time.

The module is taught through lectures and seminars, each focusing on a particular historical, social, political, cultural or theoretical topic, issue and problem related to race in Britain. These range from: the construction and status of race through various discourses and contexts of colonialism, immigration and multiculturalism, issues of identity, representation, power, equality and difference, the relationship between race and other social-political identifications, categories and divisions such as nationality, class, gender, ethnicity and religion, the relationship between race and the law, crime and civil unrest, the history of racial conflict and the development of anti-racist activism, policies and legislation, forms of cultural politics, expression and resistance and, finally, current issues and debates concerning the status of race in Britain.

Resistance Movements in Conflict & War

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module will examine the sociology of war by investigating the intersection between violence, politics, social and economic issues, and human rights. It will be a sociological and criminological exploration of various groups throughout history who have 'broken the law' in order to achieve some type of positive social change.

The module will explore a range of interesting academic theories and concepts, including social movement theory, resistance theory, and other related issues around collective behaviour, rational choice theory, and framing, for example.

These theories will be put into context by studying various groups who achieved what is now generally deemed to be positive social change throughout history, including various resistance movements against the Third Reich during the second world war, and Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress.

The module will also examine changing political and social values, ideologies and goals of resistance movements, where support and condemnation have been attached to the same group over a relatively short period of time, including the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Sociology of Globalisation (Spr)

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module looks at the social, cultural, political and economic aspects of globalisation. The module will examine the meaning and definition of globalisation and its history since premodern times to the present day. It will assess perspectives on globalisation from globalist to sceptical and at the critical theories of sociologists such as Bauman and Bourdieu. It will examine the growth of global media corporations and discuss whether these impose western cultural imperialism or if global culture is more heterogenous and hybrid because of globalisation. We will look at causes and patterns of migration and whether migration has the negative effects it is often portrayed as producing. The module will examine the experience of globalisation in global cities. We will assess whether the world economy has been globalised and globalisation is a solution to global inequality and poverty. The module will examine whether globalisation has eroded national democracy and autonomy and whether it leads to neoliberal policies being imposed on nation-states. We will discuss global social movements and global protest. We will assess the balance of global power between states such as the USA and China and at the future of war and conflict globally.

Alternative Societies (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Socologists often analyse and criticise the world, and this module examines the alternative societies implied by sociological assessments and criticisms. We will look at alternative societies such as:

  • communist and other kinds of non-capitalist and non-market societies
  • libertarian and decentralised societies
  • communes and alternative types of living.

The module will cover areas such as alternative education, alternative economies and co-ops, participatory types of political organisation, non-patriarchal society, non-racist society, alternative societies for developing countries, green and sustainable societies, societies without work, society without borders, media, technology and alternative societies, and the politics of transition to alternatives. We will look at the role of sociology as critical, utopian and normative.

Consuming Passions

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores consumption practices within specific social, cultural and historical contexts. It will build upon other modules you have undertaken throughout your degree and enable you to draw interim conclusions to processes through which people make sense of objects – and other culturally significant things – and how they are appropriated into everyday life. It also explores consumption as a basic human activity through which people engage with and understand their position in the world. It will locate social, historical and culturally specific consumption practices within wider processes of identity-creation and differentiation. Finally, consumption will be discussed in the context of the development of 'consumer cultures' and globalisation.

'Consuming Passions' will take a dynamic and deliberately interdisciplinary approach to a number of key concepts central to the study of 'culture'. It will draw upon and critically examine the variety of ways in which cultural and sub-cultural groups acquire, interpret, use and develop such things as film, music, food, sexuality, fashion, literature and art, and include the study of material and visual cultures.

The weekly topics are related and have been chosen deliberately to interact with one another in intriguing and unexpected ways. You are strongly encouraged to make original and imaginative leaps and connections during seminar discussions and in both your coursework and your extended essays, in which you may also re-examine, in greater depth, some of the topics you may have encountered in earlier modules.

Cultures of Colonialism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Death of Socialism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module looks at the contemporary condition of socialism following the collapse of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the erosion of the central principles of Western social democracy and the prevalence of free market and capitalist ideas at the start of the century. Is socialism a relevant, feasible or desirable idea in contemporary society? Or is it dead, merely a historical relic of the 20th century?

We will start by looking at the two predominant conceptions and experiences of socialism of the twentieth century - ­ Marxist and social democratic socialism. What are the main features of these models of socialism? You will then examine criticisms of socialism from liberals and libertarians ­ such as Hayek and Nozick ­ and from new social movements ­ such as the women's movement and the green movement. What critical points are raised by these perspectives and how telling are they? We will look at reasons for the collapse of state socialism in the late 1980s and at attempts in the West to rethink socialism during an era in which neo­liberalism was a predominant force. Do liberal and new social movements' criticisms and the collapse of state socialism suggest that socialism is dead? Do attempts to redefine socialism (as market socialism or radical democratic socialism) escape the criticisms of liberals and the new social movements and the problems experienced under old social democracy and state socialism? Or do they indicate that the era of socialism has well and truly passed?

In the final two topics we shall address this question a little more. We will examine the attempt of New Labour and current European social democrats to respond to the crisis of social democracy and will ask whether there is anything remaining of socialism in such attempts. And we shall examine theses such as that of Fukuyama: that the day of socialism has passed and that capitalism has won the battle.

Documentary, Reality TV and 'Real Lives'

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

During this documentary module you'll analyse documentary production in its historical and cultural context and focuses on new developments in documentary production, reality TV formats, feature documentary and alternative documentary production. In addition we'll address emerging documentary production in the developing world.

The module covers foundational thinking in documentary; theorisations of different modes of documentary; reality TV; debates over documentary's truth claims; the boundary between documentary and fiction; dramatisation and reconstructions; and international independent documentary production.

Identity and Interaction

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores microsociological theories of the self, social identity and social interaction, drawing particularly on Symbolic Interactionism and Goffman's dramaturgical theory. The aim is to show how the ostensibly private world of individual selfhood is created and shaped by social processes, culture and interaction order.

The first half of the module examines different approaches to understanding identity: from the philosophy of mind and personhood, through theories of group membership and categorisation; narrative and biographical models of the 'storied self'; performativity; and poststructuralist ideas about identity fragmentation, multiplicity and the discursive constitution of subjectivities.

The second part of the module looks in detail at two related theories of social interaction - Symbolic Interactionism and Goffman's dramaturgy - and their empirical applications, using illustrative examples from published studies. Topics covered here include: role-making, taking, play and conflict; meanings, gestures and symbols; strangers and outsiders; Goffman's theatrical analogy; behaviour in public places (etiquette, civility and interaction rituals); deviant and stigmatised identities; the negotiated order of institutional life; and secrecy, lies, betrayal and deception.

The module will be assessed by a 6,000 word essay, in the form of either a critical commentary on the social formation of one type of social identity or a reflexive portfolio of self-identity.

Landscape, Nature and Representation

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Migration, Identity, and Home

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Science and the Media

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Scientific controversy makes for a good story but it is also an important site of enquiry for media and science students. From human cloning to the internet, science and technology make up a central aspect of the form and content of the contemporary media. Science communication, public engagement with science, and scientific imaginaries, are key components of both factual and fictional genres from the press and the cinema, to the arts and science policy. Understanding the media as a central feature of contemporary science and techno cultures, and science and technology as central to media cultures, equips successful students with the ability to evaluate some of the key contemporary issues in society.

Using historical and contemporary case studies such as nuclear energy and biotechnology, the module might include any of the following issues:

  • fact and fraud
  • hypes and hopes
  • media publics and science
  • science and art
  • science communication and public engagement with science
  • relationships between science practice and science fiction
  • cultures of news production and science reporting
  • science as culture

The module considers the relationship between scientific cultures and key institutions in the UK and globally. These include (for example) Hollywood, the Wellcome Trust and the Science Media Centre. The role of science fiction and feminist interventions in science and technology studies also provide cross cutting aspects of the course.

Sociology of Care: caring and work (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Explore the question of how and why people 'care' for each other and who gets 'cared for' in different social settings.

You study concepts and theories from a range of perspectives including feminist social theory, sociology of nursing, health and illness and disability studies.

You explore experiences of care giving and receiving by family and professionals through a range of empirical cases.

You will also study debates about:

  • the value and cost of care work and emotional labour
  • the commodification of care
  • the implications of new populations in need of care
  • the concept of vulnerability and its intersection with care needs and provision
  • the meaning of care across the life course with particular reference to people with specific disabilities or chronic health conditions.

Sociology of Fun (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module introduces you to the idea of a sociology of fun, where fun will be treated as a key component of modern social relations. This is a completely new area of sociological enquiry – you will be involved in social science as it is being developed.

Whilst there is a large literature on well-being, psychological and physical health and leisure – addressed in the module – there is almost no social scientific literature on experiences of fun. Early work on 'fun morality' disappeared by the end of the 1950s, as concerns about the longer term implications of good health, well-being and (more recently) happiness – related to discourses of the productive worker – came to dominate writing on the positive and negative aspects of our socio-emotional lives.

This module addresses a central theme – that the under representation of fun in literature is because of a social representation of it as frivolous and fleeting. Throughout the module this is counterpoised with data illustrating the importance placed on fun by a variety of people in a variety of settings.

Here fun will be presented as something distinct from well-being and happiness due to the temporal impermanence of the phenomenal experience. But fun resonates through the telling and re-telling of the experience of having fun – which in itself stimulates fun.

Sociology Research Proposal

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The aim of this module is to give you direct experience of carrying out a small-scale research project, from the initial stages of design to the final stages of presenting your findings. It is intended to consolidate and build upon the knowledge base gained from the DSR research methods module in the second year, as you will use these skills to research a topic of your choice. You will be assessed on how well you interpret and apply the relevant methodological issues to your research design, manage the practical side of the project, and reflect on the effectiveness of your chosen strategies. You work mainly through independent study, under the guidance of a supervisor. The assessment consists of a research proposal, presentation and 8000-word written report.

The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you look at sociological, criminological, socio-legal and cultural approaches in order to study capital punishment.

You will engage with a 'cultures of punishment' perspective on the death penalty, drawing on capital punishment scholars such as David Garland (2010), Austin Sarat (2001) and Franklin Zimring (2003).

This perspective emphasises the need to understand the symbolic meanings generated by punishment and how these relate to social change.

You also study capital punishment in its historical and contemporary contexts. After establishing this theoretical framework, you study a broadly chronological approach from the nineteenth-century to the present.

You explore the following topics:

  • spectacle and public execution
  • the campaign to end public executions
  • mid twentieth-century abolitionism
  • public views on capital punishment in England
  • American reinstatement of the death penalty
  • cultural portrayals of capital punishment
  • women and the death penalty
  • 'new abolitionism' and the innocence movement in the United States
  • European cosmopolitan identity and the campaign for worldwide abolition
  • current use of the death penalty worldwide with a focus on Singapore, Japan and China.

You mainly focus on European countries and the United States, although the final topic includes a wider international dimension.

Comedy and Cultural Belonging

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Comedy is, above all, a cultural form that invites its audiences to feel that they belong – to a social community, a class, a locality, a nation, a subculture, a gender, a sexual identity, an ethnic group, a community of interest, or a complex intersection of several of these.

This module explores the relationship between comedy and belonging by considering a number of conceptual fields, such as:

  • theories of the comedic
  • questions of identity formation
  • notions of representation and stereotyping
  • structures of power and resistance
  • the sexual politics of jokes
  • concepts of carnival and excess
  • the idea of a 'national sense of humour'
  • the use of comic strategies by 'minority' groups
  • the complexities of camp
  • the role of class in cultural consumption.

The initial focus is on 20th-century British popular comedy. The comic texts and practitioners studied might include Alan Bennett, Mike Leigh, Victoria Wood, the music hall tradition, the Ealing comedies, the Carry On films, Morecambe and Wise, The League of Gentlemen and The Royle Family.

Contemporary Social Theory (Spr)

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module provides a critical assessment of the some of the most prominent sociological theorists in the late 20th century. This period can be described as post-classical in the sense that the various schools of classical sociological theory associated with Marx, Weber, Durkheim and their later followers gave way to a range of new approaches such as those linked to post-structuralism, such as Foucault - as well as to new interpretations of the classical approaches, such as social constructionism, western Marxism and critical theory. The central aim of the module is to show how contemporary thinkers have understood the major transformations in modern society (ie from industrial to post-industrial society, globalisation, new social movements such as feminism, environmental movements, identity politics). This will involve a consideration of some of the most important debates in sociological theory, such as the debates about modernity versus postmodernity, structure versus agency as well as the influence of psychoanalytic social theory emanating from feminist theory and from post-structuralism.

The weekly topics include: social constructionism; Foucault and govementality; Habermas and critical theory; recognition theory (Honneth); marxism after postmodernism; Bourdieu and recent French sociology; poststructuralism and psychoanalysis: Derrida, Lacan, Deleuze; Bauman's postmodern ethics; network theory: Latour and Castells; theories of modernity; cosmopolitanism and social theory; culture and social theory (performativity, Alexander).

Development, Human Rights and Security (Spr)

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Human rights, development and security are essential to current international social and political concerns and are becoming ever more interlinked. This module sets out to consider from a critical perspective recent intellectual developments in the field with a view to answering contemporary social and political questions through analytically rigorous and empirically grounded approaches. The module is comprised of three core sections: development, human rights and security, each of which cover pressing current affairs informed by classical and contemporary theory. It will take you through the evolution of development theory starting with the classical approaches and ending with intellectual challenges from post-development theory and feminism. It will then move onto an equally critical analysis of the intellectual evolution of human rights and its contemporary application before exploring the topical themes of securitisation, terrorism and transnational Islam in the post-9/11 period.

Everyday Life and Technology

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module investigates the overlapping technological, cultural and social dimensions of technology (particularly communication technologies, but also other domestic technologies) as they are encountered in everyday life. It explores these issues through an investigation of historical and contemporary examples (the telephone, the radio, the television, the mp3 player, the fridge, the computer and the internet) and discusses how domestic technologies are socially shaped, re-shaped, experienced and consumed. During the module you will consider major theoretical approaches to the study of everyday technologies as well as debates about their consequences and significance.

Migration, Identity, and Home

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Europeans have become increasingly mobile in recent years.

In this module, you explore how being part of the European Union affects the lives and identities of ordinary European citizens 'on the move'.

Specifically, you examine intra-European forms of mobility, tracing the experiences of different categories of EU citizens who take advantage of the 'freedom of movement' or aspire to do so, from Erasmus students and holiday makers to professionals, lower-skilled workers, and lifestyle migrants.

Drawing on migration and Europeanisation studies, you look at whether and how cross-border mobility affects Europeans' sense of identity, and engenders forms of belonging beyond the 'national'.

Performing the Urban: postcolonial perspectives

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Performance cultures provide a unique insight into urban and social transformation. Addressing urban dance, music and language scenes, among other things, this module opens up a range of debates on the relationship between performance cultures and the urban. This in-depth exploration engages critically with theoretical perspectives on performance and and addresses the main frames through which performing the urban can be understood. You will, for example, consider the history of urban performance cultures and how they are made in different places. Developing these intellectual tools, you will enter into a series of applied discussions on performance culture’s relation to youth politics, multiculture and cosmopolitanism, and cultural technologies whilst considering the intersection of these topics with race, class and gender. You will consider how we might understand contemporary urban politics and perhaps even counter stories of its demise. You will discuss the multicultural and diasporic formation of urban performances, and how the use of YouTube by urban musicians might be similar or different to the use of sound systems or pirate radio. In the final session, you will look out to consider the future of performance cultures in the context of the urban, and indeed how the weeks’ prevision discussions prefigure different futurities.

This module will engage with a range of materials of interest to UK, EU and international students. Discussions on the relation of time to performance culture will draw on examples of changing language use in urban places. Analyses of space will engage with performances of the ‘hood, ghetto and post-code. The evaluation of struggle will consider the politics of riots/uprisings in addition to more mundane expressions of racialised, classed and gendered resistance drawn form urban ethnographies. The analysis of multiculture and cosmopolitanism will engage with the biographies of singer songwriters such as Prince, MIA and Wiley in addition to South Asian dance music. The analysis of transforming relationships between performance culture and technology will include a comparative exploration of sound systems, pirate radio and online music videos.

The module’s engagement with music, digital media, film, and everyday cultural practices, will be of interest to undergraduate students in cultural studies, media and communications, and music and film, in addition to students from wider social science and humanities disciplines. In particular it will build on MFM second year modules on ‘culture, race and ethnicity’, ‘digital cultures’, ‘gender, space and culture’, ‘media, memory, history’ and ‘sound culture and society’; and joint second-year cultural studies modules such as ‘cities and urban lives’ and ‘culture and performance’.

Overall, the module will provide you with the substantive, historical and theoretical means to analyse and engage with the complexities inherent in performing urban culture.

Subjects covered include:

  1. An introduction to urban performance culture, including an outline of foundational studies on urban culture.
  2. Key theoretical perspectives through which urban performance culture has been addressed, in particular focusing on ‘performativity’, vernacular and dialogue.
  3. A discussion of performance cultures in time, their relation to the past and the creative transformations they undergo.
  4. An evaluation of how performance culture is constituted in space (in particular urban space).
  5. An critical discussion of performance culture as a site of political struggle and how this intersects with class, race and gender.
  6. An analysis of performance culture as a manifestation of multiculture and cosmopolitanism.
  7. An analysis of the transforming relationships between urban culture and technology.
  8. An evaluation of the future of urban culture.

Race, Ethnicity and Identity

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module focuses on theories of race, ethnicity and identity. You will apply diverse approaches to race, ethnicitiy and identity to historical and contemporary ethnographic contexts.

As well as examining the ways in which racial and ethnic identities have been constructed across time and space, we interrogate these constructions with specific reference to:

  • the development of anthropology
  • slavery and colonialism
  • scientific racism
  • postcolonial political regimes
  • postcolonial feminism
  • conflict and genocide
  • identity-based mass violence
  • diaspora, transnationalism and the Black Atlantic
  • contemporary understandings of race and racism in its myriad forms
  • multicultural lives and hybridity.

You are assessed by a 7,000-word dissertation.

Sociology Project

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The aim of this module is to give you direct experience of carrying out a small scale research project, from the initial stages of design to the final stages of presenting your findings. It is intended to consolidate and build upon the knowledge base gained from the DSR research methods module in the second year, as you will use these skills to research a topic of your choice. You will be assessed on how well you interpret and apply the relevant methodological issues to your research design, manage the practical side of the project, and reflect on the effectiveness of your chosen strategies. You work mainly through independent study, under the guidance of a supervisor. The assessment consists of a research proposal, presentation and 8,000 word written report.

Surveillance, Security and Control

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you examine key developments and controversies in surveillance and security.

You focus on the deployment of surveillance in diverse contexts including:

  • crime control
  • national security
  • welfare
  • border control
  • consumption.

You are introduced to a range of historical, theoretical and empirical contexts that advance your understanding and the critical analysis of surveillance in society.

Through specific case studies - including DNA databases; the Snowden Affair; the 'internet of things' and military surveillance - you are encouraged to analyse contemporary surveillance trends in the light of shifting constellations of power, politics, resistance and control.

The Body: current controversies and debates

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The body has recently become a key focus for sociological theorising and research. Much of this work has focused on defining the body as a socially constructed phenomenon, and exploring how it is produced through various social and cultural practices and discourses, and categories such as gender, class, race and sexual orientation. However, the body is also highly politically charged; a key site at which oppression is meted out, and is a focus of regulation and governance at individual, group, national and international levels. Bodies, and particularly women's bodies, are also at the nexus of some of the most controversial debates of our time.  

This module looks at the politics of the body from a sociological point of view, exploring themes of embodiment and power through a variety of controversial issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual violence, sex work, abortion, cosmetic surgery and eugenics. You will think through various debates in relation to a broad canon of theories from feminism and sociology, around notions such as rights, bodily autonomy and integrity, structures and discourses, and the formation and regulation of identities. Gender will be a central thread throughout, and attention will be paid to how it intersects with other social categories such as class, 'race', sexual orientation, age, and (dis)ability.
 
 

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