What is the course about?
This course will address the relationship between institutions and inequality by viewing concepts of ‘power’, ‘social inequality’, ‘class’, ‘gender’ and ‘ethnicity’ through different sociological lenses as well as considering their implications and relevance for today’s society. In trying to explain existing power imbalances in contemporary society, key thinkers such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim will be studied together with theoretical perspectives such as Marxism, feminism and functionalism.
What will we cover?
The course will cover a wide range of topics relating to the field of Sociology with an emphasis on social and power divisions and how these affect an individual’s position in society. Topics will include: individual and social identities, social class and stratification, gender and social exclusion, ethnicity, diversity and inequality as well as crime and deviance. We will also consider changes taking place over time by reference to globalisation and consumer society, mass communication and the media as well as education and the welfare state. While the course is focused on UK society, we will place the British experience within an international context.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Understand the basic aims of Sociology
• Critically evaluate at least two sociological perspectives
• Explain the concepts of ‘power’, ‘social inequality’, ‘class’, ‘gender’ and ‘ethnicity’ as well as the impact they have on individual and social identities
• Show how different sociological perspectives help to explain social problems in contemporary society
• Work in groups and engage in class discussions.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for students who are new to Sociology as well as those who have studied the discipline before. We will take students throughout the course content and provide them with weekly readings and articles to comment on and discuss in the classroom. The main criteria for students joining the course is to have an interest in the subject together with an open mind and come ready to explore new ideas and even challenge their own assumptions about the social world around them.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The two-hour classes will typically be divided in two halves: in the first hour, we shall start with a discussion of the previous week’s homework reading, which will have been provided to the students to read outside the classroom. This will be followed by an hour’s interactive lecture using PowerPoint slides and a variety of media. After a short break, students will engage in group work activities aimed at putting into practice the issues discussed in the lecture, which will conclude with a plenary. Students are encouraged to actively contribute to group discussions and debates.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Students only need to bring with them to class writing materials (i.e. pen and paper) to take notes during lectures if they wish. Copies of the lecture’s handouts will be provided to the students at the beginning of each class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details