Module Catalogue 2021/22

SOC1033 : Understanding Everyday Life

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Mark Casey
  • Lecturer: Dr Mwenza Blell
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

N/A

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

N/A

Aims

This module introduces students to the world of everyday life and regards this important dimension of human experience as both a topic and a field of sociological inquiry. The module encourages students to make sociological sense of ‘ordinary’ situations, people, events, things and practices, and to question and investigate the ‘taken-for-grantedness’ of our everyday lives and encounters. The module is organised around six main themes: i) Lifestyles; ii) People; iii) Knowledges; iv) Places; v) Imagination; vi) Things. (Themes may change with teaching team).

Each theme incorporates:
(a)       an introduction to a range of theoretical and conceptual frameworks for understanding how the mundane, micro-level activities and experiences of everyday life in everyday settings are implicated in processes of social change and transformation; in the construction and reconstruction of social order and structure; and in relationships of power, resistance and conflict;
(b)       an introduction to methodological ways of exploring everyday life;
(c)       an introduction to the design and completion of fieldwork exercises in a variety of real-life situations;
(d)       an introduction to key tools of primary and secondary data collection, including observational/ethnographic, discursive, visual, virtual, documentary and interviewing methods;
(e)       an introduction to data analytical techniques relevant to naturalistic/interpretative approaches to social research;
(f)       an introduction to the use of empirical data and research findings to investigate and evaluate conceptual understandings of everyday life.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus for this module is a dynamic one and takes account of current and contemporary events/circumstances occurring within the taught period of the module, and from one year to the next. The syllabus outlined here is therefore indicative only and can change. Theoretical/conceptual and methodological content forms the intellectual cornerstone of the module, and is introduced in lectures, demonstrated and applied through workshops and critically evaluated through seminar discussion. Conceptual ideas and inspirations may be drawn from a number of theoretical frameworks, but will vary in relation to the substantive issues explored in each thematic sequence. These may include, but not be limited to insights generated by interpretive sociologies; critical sociologies; cultural theory; poststructuralist perspectives. Similarly, methodological approaches will vary in relation to the substantive content of each thematic; methods of data collection and analysis may include, but will not be limited to ethnographic methods; interviewing; discourse analysis; visual methodologies; virtual methodologies; documentary methods. Please note: Themes may change with the teaching team.

Theme 1: Lifestyles
Substantive topics may include: shopping, gardening, celebrity, fashion, consumerism, eating and cooking, health, leisure, sport, working lives, ageing, criminality, holidaymaking, travelling, hobbies and pastimes.

Theme 2: People
Substantive topics may include: identities, communities, self, others, memory, emotions, intimacy, bodies, gender, ethnicity, faith-groups, sexualities, disabilities, individualism, youth, children, families, parenting, difference, diaspora.

Theme 3: Knowledges
Substantive topics may include: science, common sense, media, intuition, practical consciousness, affect, mythologies, narrative, orthodoxy, meaning-making, tradition, religion, visual knowledge, reflexivity, subjectivity/objectivity.

Theme 4: Places
Substantive topics may include: tourism, cities, security, heritage, commemoration, public/private spaces, homes, landscapes, segregation, streetlife, architecture, work places, non-places, nightscapes, shopping malls, markets, globalisation, localism, mobility, migration and movement.

Theme 5: Imagination
Substantive topics may include: realism, idealism, utopia, dystopia, film, literature, poetry, music, art, aesthetics, desire, emotions, fear of crime, insecurities, alienation, nostalgia, time-space instantiation, morality, ethics, creativity, happiness, Gothicism, wickedness, pasts, presents and futures

Theme 6: Things
Substantive topics may include: technologies (communication-, mobile-, cyber- surveillance-), digitalisation, virtual worlds, monuments, consumer goods, commodification, waste and rubbish, transport, automation, networks and flows, material cultures

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of key sociological frameworks of enquiry for researching the mundane, micro-level activities and experiences of everyday life in everyday settings;
Students will develop a sociological knowledge and understanding of how everyday life is implicated in processes of social change and transformation; in the construction and reconstruction of social order and structure; and in relationships of power, resistance and conflict;
Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of a variety of methodological approaches appropriate to the exploration of everyday life in everyday settings;
Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of the design and completion of fieldwork exercises in a variety of real-life situations;
Students will develop a knowledge and understanding, and be confident in the use of key tools of primary and secondary data collection, including observational/ethnographic, discursive, visual, virtual, documentary and interviewing methods;
Students will develop a knowledge and understanding, and be confident in the use of data analytical techniques relevant to naturalistic/interpretative approaches to social research;
Students will develop a knowledge and understanding, and be confident in the use of empirical data and research findings to investigate and evaluate conceptual understandings of everyday life.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will develop a range of subject-specific, cognitive and transferable skills which will include: An ability to critically read/reflect on a wide range of sociological theories, and develop a familiarity with the diversity of academic literature on the sociology of everyday life;
An ability to design research methodologies appropriate to the empirical research of everyday life in everyday settings;
An ability to critically analyse empirical data and materials through the prism of a range of naturalistic/interpretive analytical frameworks;
An ability to advance and critically reflect upon sociological knowledge through the generation of research findings;
The development of students’ organisational and planning skills;
The development of students’ writing, speaking and team-working skills;
The development of students’ problem-solving, evaluation and information-communication skills.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials112:0022:00Non-synchronous lecture/pre-recorded and not timetabled
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1129:00129:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00PIP, timetabled seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops91:009:00PIP, timetabled workshops. Assessment workshops/preparation and open Q&A sessions
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

PIP workshops will benefit student assessment development, discussion of how to approach assessments/assessment support and open Q&A sessions.

PIP seminars provide a forum for reflecting on, evaluating and critically debating e.g. journal articles, news reports or a programme relevant to the particular thematic. Students will be directed toward particular articles/readings/news reports/programmes for the seminars.

Non-synchronous lecture/pre-recorded and not timetabled will introduce students to ideas and academic debate within each of the themes/areas that underpin the module.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M502000 words
Case study2M50Critical case study of 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment one: The Report (referred to as a Conceptual review in the module handbook) will assess students’ developing grasp of the conceptual vocabulary introduced through lectures and seminars. Each thematic sequence will identify a range of keywords which students should become familiar and confident with over the course of the taught programme; this assessment measures this progress. Key concepts for review will be selected from a list prepared by the module team.

Assessment two: Critical case study: students will be required to submit a critical case study which will assess their knowledge and understanding of firstly, the theoretical and conceptual vocabulary appropriate to the sociology of everyday life; secondly, the design and application of relevant methodological and analytical frameworks to make sense of an aspect of everyday life in everyday settings; and thirdly, the sociological use and value of research findings generated by empirical data. Students will be free to select for themselves the material and focus of the critical case study.

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

N/A

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2021/22 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2022/23 entry will be published here in early-April 2022. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.