BASS Politics and Sociology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Work, Economy and Society

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOCY20031
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Precise content of the course is updated every year, but you’ll get a good sense of topic coverage from a recent list of lecture titles:

1.       Work, Economy, Society: Big Concepts and How to Use Them

2.       Capitalist Institutions: Money, Markets, Firms and Work

3.       Globalisation and the New Capitalism

4.       Capitalism and Crisis.

5.       Economy and Culture

6.       The Social Relations of the Corporation

7.       Discipline and Surveillance in the Workplace

8.       Flexibility, Routinization and Identity at Work

9.       Emotional Labour and the Service Industries

Unemployment and the Future of Work: Some Radical Approaches. 


This course examines the development of global capitalism from a sociological perspective. It aims to equip students with an understanding of important institutions and processes including: the role of the corporation in society; new forms of management and control in the workplace; the relationship between work and identity; the causes and impact of globalisation; and the nature of economic crises. Throughout, the course aims to develop students' capacities for critical thinking and synthesis, particularly through the application of theoretical insights about the nature of capitalist institutions to understand micro-level features such as changes in relations within workplaces.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course students will be expected to:
- Understand economic transformation in a social and cultural context.
- Understand, and be able to critically assess, structures and processes affecting the experience of work.
- Understand the effects of globalisation on production and consumption.
These objectives will form the basis upon which students will be examined.
In addition to the above objectives, students will develop and utilise skills in presentation of ideas (in both verbal and written work) and in the use of a wide range of information resources.

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture-style material will be delivered weekly through a mix of up to one hour pre-recorded (i.e. asynchronous) content and one hour live (i.e. synchronous) lecturer-led classes. Additionally, weekly one hour small-group tutorials will be delivered on-campus as long as government guidelines allow, otherwise they will be delivered online

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

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. In this course you will receive individual written feedback on a non-assessed assignment and your coursework essay, as well as general verbal feedback throughout the course in tutorials and lectures.

Recommended reading

Ingham, G. (2008) Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity.
Bauman, Z. (1998) Work, Consumerism and the New Poor, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Students new to sociology may wish to examine:
Jenkins, R. (2002) Foundations of Sociology, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kevin Gillan Unit coordinator

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