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Unit information: Social Identities and Divisions in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Social Identities and Divisions
Unit code SOCI10007
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Charsley
Open unit status Open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to general sociological frameworks for thinking about social divisions, covering both modernist and postmodernist approaches to conceptualising social difference. It will exemplify these theoretical issues in relation to various aspects of social division, such as class, 'race' and ethnicity, gender, age and disability. The unit will focus on some key debates in each of these areas, present empirical evidence of inequalities that relate to these divisions, and consider their relevance in the analysis of contemporary societies.

The unit aims to:

  1. Introduce students to basic theoretical frameworks for understanding social divisions and identities
  2. Demonstrate the significance of social divisions as a central feature of contemporary society
  3. Familiarise students with some key contributions to debates on divisions such as class, ethnicity, gender, age and disability
  4. Help students develop a critical approach to the use of empirical data

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Be familiar with key concepts for understanding social divisions and identities
  2. Have knowledge of key texts and contributions in the substantive study of social divisions
  3. Be developing a critical approach to the interpretation of various forms of empirical data.

Teaching Information

2 hours of lectures and 1 hour seminar

Assessment Information

Learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3 will be assessed through the 2 hour exam.

Reading and References

  • Geoff Payne (ed), 2000, Social Divisions Basingstoke: Palgrave
  • Harriet Bradley, 1996, Fractured Identities Cambridge: Polity
  • Fiona Devine and Mary Waters (eds), 2004, Social Inequalities in Comparative Perspective Oxford: Blackwell
  • Shaun Best, 2005, Understanding Social Divisions London: Sage
  • Wendy Bottero, 2000, Stratification London: Routledge