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SOC3081 : Exploring city life: an introduction to contemporary urban anthropology and sociology

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sarah Winkler-Reid
  • Deputy Module Leader: Dr Miranda Iossifidis
  • 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 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Urban anthropology, sociology and geography provide theoretical, empirical and methodological tools for exploring and understanding cities and urban experiences. The ever-growing body of literature examines a range of interconnected topics including;

Poverty, inequality, dispossession, destruction, social (in)justice and crisis urbanism.
The built environment, urban development, capital flows, neoliberalisation and financialisation.
Contentious urban politics, citizenship, security, right to the city.
Households, relationships, lifestyles and selves.
Precarious urban worlds: work, the home, occupying the city
Re-making the city: The creative city: experimentation, gentrification
Race, racism, multiculturalism, and conviviality.
Feminist and Queer approaches to theorising the city
Planetary urbanism, Comparative Urbanism
Understanding the climate crisis: urban Anthropocene, urban ecology
Postcolonial urban theory and imperial legacies in British cities.
Urban imaginaries, the role of desires, dreams, surrealism, art in understanding urban life.

1) For students to become familiar with a range of research on cities and urban experiences from urban anthropology, sociology, and geography, through a range of learning and assessment methods.

2) For students to have the opportunity to further develop research skills and graduate skills through inquiry and analysis of specific topics, issues or problems relating to cities and urban lives.

3) For students to develop critical, theoretically informed approaches to understanding, exploring and reporting on urban topics, issues or problems.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will introduce students to a range of topics related to cities and urban experience and critical approaches to the study of key issues and processes in contemporary urban life. This will include scholarships from across urban anthropology, sociology, and geography, and involve a range of experiential and multi-media engagements. Students will learn about these topics through a focus on the surrounding city of Newcastle-Gateshead, as well as national and global experiences, and will have the opportunity to explore a chosen topic in-depth through their research project.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion163:0063:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:003:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:304:30N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1104:00104:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops23:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:301:30N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork34:0012:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SOC8071Exploring City Life: An Introduction to Contemporary Urban Anthropology and Sociology
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Fieldtrips utilise city as a resource and help students gain ideas and develop focus for their research projects. They are scaffolded by specific themes, which we critically engage with in the classroom reflection, drawing on ongoing research happening at Newcastle University, bringing urban theory to life.

Lectures in first half of module introduce students to key ideas, themes and methods in urban studies.

The studio allows for a collaborative, creative approach to the research project, drawing on studio-based learning in the arts, where the teaching team will be engaging with students throughout the session with structured and unstructured tasks, with ongoing feedback from staff and peer feedback.

Lectures/ invited talks in second half of the module enable development of specific themes in urban studies and can be responsive depending on available speakers, student interests and current staff research.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M1003500 words. 1. Learning journal of engagement on the module; and reflection on learning and graduate attributes. 40% 2. Research project report. 2300 words. 60%
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
Portfolio1MOn-going feedback via discussion boards
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment enables knowledge and skills developed in the module to be fully assessed.

1. Learning journal of engagement on the module; and reflection on learning and graduate attributes. 40%

Part A. Photo (or video) used to document learning activities on the module. This can be in preferred format (e.g. social media, physical notebook, video montage or simple photos + captions). A bespoke marking criteria will be created for this.

Part B. Reflection on what you did on the module, how you challenged yourself, and what went well or not so well. Reflection will be based around key attributes from the Newcastle Graduate Framework. A bespoke marking criteria will be created for this.

Intended knowledge outcomes: 1 - 3
Intended skill outcomes: 1 – 4

2. Research project report. 2300 words approximately. Identify a problem, issue or phenomena to explore, decide which methods to use, plan, conduct research and write it up. Students will draw on literature from urban anthropology, sociology and geography as well as primary research in order to make an argument about the issues being explored. Appendices can be used to demonstrate research gathered. 60%

Intended knowledge outcomes: 1 and 3
Intended skill outcomes: 1 - 3

Reading Lists