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Unit information: Contemporary Identities and Inequalities in 2020/21

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Unit name Contemporary Identities and Inequalities
Unit code SOCIM0015
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Yamashita
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 will introduce students to general sociological frameworks for thinking about the nature of social identity and inequalities, in both a UK and international context. It will cover central theoretical approaches for conceptualising social identities and inequalities (such as class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age and disability), and the relationships between them, as well as considering how social stratification contributes to the formation of recognisable social identities. In order to explore how various inequalities manifest themselves, change and interrelate in different societal contexts, specific empirical topics will be addressed (for example: employment, social exclusion, health, education).

Unit aims

1.To introduce students to key theoretical frameworks for understanding social inequalities and identities

2.To demonstrate the significance of social inequalities and identities as central features of contemporary society

3.To examine contemporary sociological research on inequality and social identity

4.To introduce students to a range of social contexts in which inequalities manifest themselves

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate understanding of key concepts for understanding social identities and inequalities

2. Critically examine contemporary sociological research on contemporary social identities and inequalities

3. Critically compare a range of social contexts in which inequalities and identities manifest themselves

4. Present a coherent written argument that evaluates the significance of social identities and inequalities for sociological analysis

Teaching Information

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

Assessment Information

Formative: 1500 word essay (0%)

Summative: 4000 word essay (100%)

The summative essay will allow for assessment of students' ability to meet the Intended Learning Outcomes 1-4, detailed below, by requiring them to develop an in-depth essay argument (4) that draws upon relevant readings, materials and debates covered in the unit (1,2). The essay questions will be designed so as to require students to critically examine contemporary sociological research on contemporary social identities and inequalities (1,2) and apply central theoretical concepts to a range of empirical examples (3).

Reading and References

  • Bradley, H (1996), Fractured Identities Polity Press, Cambridge
  • Devine, F., Waters, M. (eds) (2004) Social Inequalities in Comparative Perspective Blackwell, Oxford
  • Hills, J., Stewart, K. (eds) (2004) A More Equal Society? New Labour, poverty, inequality and exclusion. Policy Press, Bristol

Walby, S. (2009) Globalization and Inequalities: Complexity and Contested Modernities. Sage, London