The two-year course aims to ground a range of sociological theories and their related concepts and categories through which to define and explore aspects of contemporary society. In doing so, students become adept at seeing, thinking and writing about a range of social problems and issues from a sociological perspective and confident to explore a variety of different social institutions and practices including the family, the education system, the role of beliefs and the phenomenon of crime and deviance. By also becoming aware of the ways in which people are categorised according to class, ethnicity, gender and age and how this then effects their life chances students are well prepared for the transition into further and higher education.
The curriculum aims for progression in learning as a process of developing and improving skills and knowledge over time. The focus on understanding what it means to make progress in developing a Sociological Imagination (C.Wright Mills) and how learners should deepen and broaden their knowledge and understanding, skills and capacities, and attributes and dispositions to realise that ambition.
The course begins by establishing foundational subject knowledge organised around key issues and themes which then recur throughout the rest of the programme. Posing questions as to what we mean by society; how is that society structured and what are the relationships between one social institution and another. Attention is also directed towards the relationship between individuals and society and how people are aggregated – or choose to aggregate, into distinct human groups. This also provides students with an introduction to key social processes such as socialisation, as well as the appropriate sociological language through which these can be apprehended, and which resurface throughout the rest of the course.
Having started with real life process and relationships the emphasis switches to sociological perspectives by introducing the contending approaches of Functionalist, Marxist, Feminist and Interpretivist social theory. Theory is placed in an historical context where the evolution of thought is emphasised and modifications to the original theory developed in response to changes within society in general.
The main body of the two-year course is structured around four social locations within which the key concepts, foundational knowledge and sociological perspectives are then applied. Beginning with Families and Households, this unit focuses on primary human relationships of kinship, how these have changed over time and the functions which can be ascribed to the familial institutions formed. As the introductory unit students are also introduced to the changing demography of the UK and context which also informs following units. The Sociology of Education completes the first year of study with an investigation of the role and function of education, how educational attainment is shaped by ethnicity, gender and class as well as the changing forms of educational policy.
The second year begins with a unit focused on the nature of Beliefs in the contemporary world with an emphasis on the role and function of religion in the contemporary world. The unit addresses issue related to religious organisation, ideology and practice as well as the rise of secularism and the recent proliferation of new religious forms including new age movements. Crime and Deviance is the final topic-based unit which raises sociological questions in relation to the nature of crime and punishment, the role and function of rule breaking as well as the changing nature of crime. Who commits crime and why is also under consideration explored through the dimensions of gender, ethnicity and class.
Finally, the course concludes with an examination of the Research Methods used by sociologists as well as a critical discussion of the relationship of the discipline to science, ideology, social theory and social policy.
Dr David Officer
|What are the major issues considered in sociology?
|What are the forms and functions of families and households in contemporary Britain?
|What is the role and function of education?
What is the role and function of education policies?
How are different sociological theories and methods developed and implemented?
|What is the nature of contending sociological theories?
|What are the major themes which emerge in the sociology of the family and education?
|What is the form and function of beliefs in the contemporary world?
|What are the forms and functions of crime and deviance in contemporary British society?
|What forms of crime are prominent in the contemporary world?
|What are the interrelationships between contending theories in sociology?
|What are the interrelationships between theory and methods in sociology?