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Module

SOC8034 : Social Divisions and Inequality

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jacqui Close
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0

Aims

The aim of the module is to examine and understand a range of social divisions and inequalities in society, through use of macro-sociological theories and recent empirical studies drawn mainly from the UK, and how these interact.

More specifically, the module objectives are:

(a)       To explore different empirical forms of division and inequality in society (for example, class, gender, ethnicity, age, health, disability, religion, nationality, sexuality, material deprivation) and how they interact. The module will examine a range of social divisions and inequalities in contemporary society, and how they intersect. It draws on theories and empirical studies around a number of cases (such as class, gender and ‘race’) to consider how sociology approaches and understands social inequalities.

(b)       To examine relevant perspectives in the literature and evaluate empirical studies of various social divisions (including, where relevant, issues in social policy and media representation).

To examine various theoretical models of social division, for example post-Marxist, post- modernist, systemic and structural-functionalist.

Outline Of Syllabus

Week 1: Introducing theoretical perspectives on 'Social Division'.
Week 2: Explores class as a key foundational social division in sociology.
Week 3: Introduces the concept of intersectionality as a key shift in sociological understandings of social division which is then used across the remaining sessions.

Week 4-9: Each session will major on one social division from gender, ‘race’ and ethnicity, age, sexuality and disability, but will examine each through an intersectional lens.

Week 10: 'Social Division' revisited: as a group, we work through the significance of intersectionality to how sociology researches social division.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials91:009:00Pre-recorded lectures, non synchronous
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities51:005:00Non-Synchronous, non-timetabled remote delivery
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading177:0077:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Present in Person timetabled, synchronous
Total100:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures focus on the key issue: social division. They start the module by outlining alternative perspectives in
which 'social divisions' have been conceptualised and then, at the end of the module, draw together material into a
more advanced analysis than was possible at the start.

The small group teaching sessions allow students the opportunity to explore a series of social divisions and to take the lead role in
discussing one of these. All students will use the required reading for that session as their starting point each week
and be expected to be familiar with its content. The student 'seminar leader(s)' for each session will be expected to
lead discussion not only of that material, but also to link it to further reading and an exploration of the topic that they
have carried out. Students are unlikely to have a detailed knowledge of all of the topic areas and will be encouraged
to engage with those areas of the syllabus with which they are less familiar in order to broaden their knowledge base.
All sessions will examine trends over time as well as contemporary patterns of social inequalities, draw on classical
and contemporary theories, and reflect on contemporary media representations. Formative feedback on the
sessions will assist students with their summative formal assessment in the essay.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1002500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will allow students to develop their written and analytic skills alongside their empirical and theoretical knowledge of the subject, to demonstrate their detailed knowledge gained about a selected social division, to reflect on contemporary issues in social policy and media representation, to compare this with their broader knowledge of other social division, and theorise their empirical knowledge in terms of social division.

Reading Lists

Timetable