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Unit information: The Sociology of Everyday Life in 2015/16

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Unit name The Sociology of Everyday Life
Unit code SPAI30025
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Snellgrove
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

The Everyday is the place where all of Sociology’s main concerns, class, gender, power, social inequality, identity, nationalism for example, play out in the ‘episodes of everyday life’ (Sztompka, 2008: 35). It is through everyday practices, rules, rituals and daily encounters that people learn to become social. Through exploring the often mundane and taken for granted aspects of everyday life, this unit critically examines theoretical debates around everyday life, alongside the ways that we continually live and practice our daily identities. The aim of the module is to make students think sociologically about everyday life by ‘making the familiar strange.’ Students will be asked to suspend any taken for granted assumptions you have about the rules and routines of social life, and instead questions these patterns of behaviour from the perspective of an external observer. This will be done by looking at how everyday life has come to be theorised and understood within Sociology by certain social thinkers. Alongside this, substantive topics such as domestic routines, eating, shopping, music, nationalism and religion will be explored.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of some of the main theoretical approaches in the sociology of everyday life.
  • Identify and critically analyse the social rules, routines and conventions that shape social interactions.
  • Sociologically analyse at least one substantive topic from the unit, making use of interpretivist theories.

Teaching Information

One hour lecture and two hour seminar per week.

Assessment Information

Summative: essay of 3000 words (worth 100% of unit mark) Formative: essay of 1500 words (or equivalent)

Both assessments assess all Learning Outcomes.

Reading and References

  1. Bennett, T & Watson, D. (2002) Understanding Everyday LifeCambridge: Polity
  2. Goffman, E. (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Pelican Books
  3. Fox, K (2004) Watching the English Oxford: Blackwell
  4. Kalekin-Fishman, D. (2013) Sociology of Everyday Life Current Sociology 0(0): 1-9
  5. Scott, S. (2009) Making Sense of Everyday Life. Cambridge: Polity Press
  6. Sztompka, P. (2008) The Focus on the Everyday: A New Turn in Sociology. European Review. 16(1): 23-37