Module Catalogue 2023/24

SOC2087 : Identity and Difference in Multicultural Britain

SOC2087 : Identity and Difference in Multicultural Britain

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jan Dobbernack
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



The aim of this module is to explore the re-making of majority and minority identities that accompanies Britain’s multicultural drift. It investigates the sociological and political circumstances of ethno-religious and “racial” diversity in the United Kingdom. It familiarizes students with empirical and theoretical models that account for the British experience of pluralism. A particular focus is on the contestations, mobilizations and counter-movements that constitute the politics of identity and difference in contemporary Britain.

Specific module aims:
-       to consider increasing levels of diversity in British society and to trace its “multicultural drift”;
-       to investigate descriptive and normative models that account for the British experience;
-       to examine the success and failure of political models for the governance and regulation of diversity;
-       to explore political movements for equality and the recognition of “difference”, both historically and with an interest in current mobilizations;
-       to analyse counter-movements and various forms of anti-pluralist “backlash politics”.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module begins with an overview of pluralism in British society, exploring its historical development and contemporary social dynamics. It then examines analytical and normative models that bring different dimensions of diversity into view and investigates their potentials and blind spots. In a third part, the module considers a number of key concepts, such as “citizenship”, “secularism” and “integration”, that play a role in the governance of diversity and that present themselves as a focus of political claims-making and social movement activity. Finally, it examines mobilizations for equality and respect with an interest in historical and contemporary forms and the dynamics that underpin today’s anti-pluralist backlash.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By completing the module, students will develop an understanding of ethno-religious diversity in contemporary Britain. They will become familiar with demographic trends, sociological models, and political mobilizations that are distinctive for this context. They will demonstrate a critical understanding of available sociological and political theories that account for ethno-religious pluralism. They will train their sociological imagination by drawing out connections between the sociology and politics of diversity in multicultural Britain.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will develop cognitive skills through verbal and written engagement with theoretical material. With guidance from their seminar tutor, they will demonstrate the ability to conduct independent and collaborative research. They will develop key skills involved in the presentation of arguments and debates through both seminars and written assessments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1100:00100:00Assessment preparation and reading for lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Weekly Lecture-Seminar meetings (whole group, PiP)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading167:0067:00Seminar Preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Small-group seminars (PiP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00Assessment and skill workshops (whole group, PiP)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures familiarize students with ideas and concepts that are relevant for understanding ethno-religious diversity in Britain and the social and political transformations that are part of Britain’s “multicultural drift”. Seminars consolidate knowledge and provide students with structured tasks and readings. They also provide a forum for discussion and the application of theories to empirical case material. Seminar questions and tasks in preparation for the seminars will be listed for each seminar topic in advance. Private study includes preparation for lectures and seminars and preparation for completing the assignments.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M50Report of 2,000 words
Essay2M50Essay of 2,000 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Report2MOptional outline plan of max. one page for the case study report
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessed report (50%) asks students to explore specific contestations around ethno-religious diversity, based on close engagement with relevant texts and sources. This assessment is accompanied by guidance and research training as part of the module workshops. Students also have the opportunity to submit a formative piece of work in the form of research plan to obtain feedback prior to the production of the assessed report.

The assessed essay (50%) encourages students to read widely around a topic and critically engage with the literature. It gives students the opportunity to evaluate and compare different theoretical perspectives by applying them to empirical case material. It evaluates students’ ability to think creatively and draw connections between sociological and political circumstances of ethno-religious pluralism.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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