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Unit information: The Sociology of Gender in 2015/16

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Unit name The Sociology of Gender
Unit code SPAI20005
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Perrier
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces students to some key theoretical perspectives and conceptualizations of gender, for example the influence of postmodernism on feminist theory. It also examines contemporary sex and gender relations through the investigation of a number of different empirical topics illustrative of processes of gendering in contemporary Britain. Central to the unit are notions of equality, change, identity and power. A key issue is to understand the diverse ways in which gender is socially constructed: students are invited to conceptualize gender less as a characteristic of individuals and more as a structural division in society, a system of meanings, or a social process. It considers gendered relations of power and the articulation of gender with other kinds of social difference such as 'race', class and sexuality. The unit also emphasises the importance of historical change, alongside the need to appreciate the complexities and diversities of gender relations.


  • to introduce key concepts and theoretical perspectives in the sociological analysis of gender
  • to provide a grounding in important empirical research in the area
  • to examine the type of evidence needed to support particular theoretical propositions and the strengths and limitations of the evidence that is available
  • to stress the historically changing nature of gender relations and thus the possibility of further potential change towards the achievement of gender equality

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

Level 5

  1. understand classic feminist theories and apply them in a critical fashion to specific topics.
  2. appreciate the type of evidence needed to support particular theoretical propositions and the strengths and limitations of the evidence that is available
  3. demonstrate a knowledge of key research findings and studies which illustrate the social construction of gender

Learning Outcomes 1,2, and 3 will be assessed through the summative essays.

Teaching Information

1hr lecture and 2hr seminar.

Assessment Information

Two summative pieces of assessment:

1000 word essay (25%)

2000 word essay (75%)

ILOs 1, 2, and 3 will be assessed through both summative essays.

Reading and References

  • H. Bradley Gender Polity 2007
  • S. Walby Gender Transformations Routledge 1997
  • V. Bryson Feminist Debates Macmillan 1999
  • S. Whitehead Men and Masculinities Polity 2002
  • L. Adkins Revisions: Gender and Sexuality in Later modernity 2002
  • R. Crompton Women and Work in Modern Britain Oxford 1997