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This subject introduces a life course approach to social issues. Life course research is a relatively new and innovative approach in the social sciences which has developed in recent decades. It brings back in a time dimension into social research and systematically links social changes on the macro level to individual experiences on the micro level. The aim of the subject is to give students a good understanding of how our life and our identities are shaped by social institutions and our experiences. The subject will introduce key concepts such as ‘cumulative (dis)advantage’, ‘linked lives’ and ‘biographical action’. It will also demonstrate how a life course perspective can be used to advance our understanding of social issues.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students will be able to:
- Have a good understanding of key concepts of biographical and life course research;
- A good knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of life course and biographical approaches in sociology;
- Take on a biographical/life course perspective to analyse social issues;
- Understand social processes in a life course perspective;
- Critically consider how the social is constituted and reproduced during the course of one’s life;
- Use the life course/biographical approach to critique social research and social policy.
On completion of this subject students should;
- devleop research skills, through the competent use of library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research;
- have an understanding of the social, ethical and cultural contexts of research;
- developm critical thinking and analysis skills, through recommended reading, essay writing, and seminar discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;
- develop skills in written and oral communication, time management and planning, and group work, through completion of course requirements;
- have the capacity to think in theoretical terms, through class requirements and engagement with theories and methods of the social sciences;
- have the capacity to think creatively, through course work and course discussion, and by critical analysis of competing arguments.
Last updated: 3 November 2022