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This subject explores our contemporary society through sociological perspectives. Students will be encouraged to develop what C Wright-Mills describes as a 'sociological imagination', which seeks to understand the ways in which our identities are formed by social structures and historical patterns. Society in the 21st century is shaped by global flows of people, culture and finance, potentially challenging national sovereignty. New technologies are redefining who we are, work patterns are continually changing, and new social problems are emerging. In this context selfhood is in a process of rapid and uncertain transformation and categories such as gender, class and the family are becoming unstable, leading to new and difficult-to-chart experiences and new forms of inequality. This subject critically examines these changes using a number of key concepts including social change, power and conflict, inequality, identity, risk, individualisation, and networks. Drawing on these key concepts, the subject closely examines the relationship between the individual, the collective and key social institutions in the context of seeking to understand the complex and dynamic nature of human society.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- Demonstrate a sociological understanding of the nature of social relationships and institutions, patterns of social diversity and inequality, and processes that underpin social change and stability;
- Have an introductory knowledge of the main approaches in classical and contemporary sociology and their development in particular social, historical and world contexts;
- Demonstrate an introductory ability to apply sociological theories, concepts and evidence to sociological questions within complex and changing social contexts;
- Communicate sociological principles and knowledge effectively in written format;
- Demonstrate an introductory ability to develop arguments by using evidence, evaluating competing explanations, and drawing conclusions.
Last updated: 4 August 2020