BAEcon Development Studies and Social Statistics

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Getting Personal: Intimacy and Connectedness in Everyday Life

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOCY10471
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course will start with an introduction to what is meant by 'personal life' with the help of practical examples. This will provide a basis for the lectures that follow. These will address demographic shifts that have occurred in the area of personal life over the last century or so, as well as how these wider social changes have been visible on the level of individual lives. We will unpack different areas of 'personal life' and examine how these have changed in relation to wider social phenomena. One important area is that of different personal relationships such as family, kinship and friendships. Other aspects of personal life that we will address include the meaning of home, sexualities, the impact of new reproductive technologies and the link between the personal and the political. The course will end with a lecture that provides a summary and overview of what personal life means in sociology.


' To introduce students to a sociological approach to the study of personal life
- To examine how personal lives have changed over time and in relation to social changes
- To explore how wider social changes have impacted upon personal life
- To provide conceptual tools for understanding the micro level of day-to-day life

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will:
- be able to understand the relationship between personal experience and wider social phenomena
- be able to understand how the 'present' is rooted in the past
- have knowledge of the interconnections between issues of biography, sexuality, place, home, and other areas defined as 'personal'
- will have an appreciation of why and how the individual is important to the study of sociology

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly lectures (2 x 1hr)
Weekly tutorials (1hr)

Assessment methods

1 compulsory non-assessed essay (1500 words) and 1 non-assessed presentation (during tutorial times). 5 marks deducted from final mark for each non-completed assignment.

Final mark derived from 2 hour examination.

Feedback methods

All sociology courses include both formative feedback – which lets you know how you’re getting on and what you could do to improve – and summative feedback – which gives you a mark for your assessed work.

Recommended reading

Davis, Kathy (1995) Reshaping the Female Body: The Dilemma of Cosmetic Surgery. London: Routledge.
Jamieson, Lynn (1998) Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies. Cambridge: Polity.
Lupton, Deborah (1998) The Emotional Self: A Sociocultural Exploration. London: Sage. McRae, Susan (ed) (1999) Changing Britain: Families and Households in the 1990s. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Morrill, Calvin, Snow, David A. & White, Cindy H. (eds) (2005) Together Alone: Personal Relationships in Public Places, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Pahl, Ray (2000) On Friendship. Cambridge: Polity.

Scott, Susie (2009) Making Sense of Everyday Life, Cambridge: Polity.

Weeks, Jeffrey, Heaphy, Brian & Donovan, Catherine (2001) Same Sex Intimacies: Families of Choice and Other Life Experiments. London: Routledge.

May, Vanessa and Nordqvist, Petra (eds) (2019). The Sociology of Personal Life (2nd edition). London: Red Globe Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Luke Yates Unit coordinator

Return to course details