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Unit information: Religion, Ethnicity and Value Change in 2021/22

Unit name Religion, Ethnicity and Value Change
Unit code SOCIM0010
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Sealy
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 examines the links between religion, ethnicity, and value change. Modernisation, economic security and education appear to lead to the prioritisation of self-actualisation over survival and material needs. Successive social generations, compared with those born before the arrival of the Welfare State, seem less survival-focused, less group-oriented, more liberal, and more tolerant of difference. At the same time, value shifts have also affected traditional prejudice based on ethnic and racial difference, with important generational differences apparent among those of immigrant origin, where the values and priorities of first-generation immigrants and their children are often very different.

The direction of such value shifts and their importance for society has been complicated, however, by the arrival of hypermigration, superdiversity, post-secularity and growing economic precarity. These phenomena have affected different social groups unequally. Society is witnessing a changing public policy agenda and the emergence of a ‘new left’ and ‘new right’. Immigration, race and religion are in the foreground of public attention, and there is growing evidence of ‘new racism’.

This unit examines changes in social and political values as a source of secularisation and ethnic integration, alongside the question of whether new cultural cleavages are emerging between different ethno-religious groups, particularly in the civic realm. The overarching aim is to introduce students to the concept that value shifts serve as the pathway whereby modernisation affects ethnicity and religion. We additionally aim for students to develop an advanced-level understanding of migration, the blurring and brightening of ethnic boundaries, generational change in political culture, and the connections between religion and ethnicity.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

• define and critically assess concepts used in the discussion of religion, secularisation, postsecularity, ethnicity and basic values;

• situate religion, secularity, migration, ethnicity and value change in their social context;

• explain and evaluate the use of data and methods appropriate to the field;

• assess and make connections between scholarly, popular and policy understandings related to religion, ethnicity and issues such as integration, inequality and civic engagement.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

1500 word essay for formative assessment and feedback (0%).

4000 word essay (100%).

Both assessments assess all learning outcomes


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SOCIM0010).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.