BASS Politics and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

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
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit will introduce you to the importance of ‘personal life’ as a core sociological topic. The unit will start with an introduction to what is meant by ‘personal life’ and everyday life. Subsequent lectures will draw out the broad theme of connectedness in personal life through exploring diverse connections between people; between people, objects and their environment; between the personal and the political; and between the past and the present. Lecture topics will include: personal life in and out of time (lifecourse and temporality); intimate relationships; friendship and acquaintanceship; sexuality, gender and the politics of personal life; potent connections to the past (memory, biography and identity); the making and unmaking of home; the everyday life of objects; and the personal and the political. In so doing, we will address demographic, social and cultural shifts that have occurred in the area of personal life over the last century or so, as well as the impact on personal life of more recent global shocks such as the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the #MeToo movement. 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 and the 
  • everyday 
  • To examine how personal lives have changed over time and how wider social 
  • changes have impacted upon personal life, including the impact of recent global 
  • shocks such as Covid-19 pandemic 
  • To underline the theme of connectedness in personal life and the everyday 
  • 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 an appreciation of the connectedness of personal life through exploring diverse connections between people; between people, objects and their environment;  
  • between the personal and the political; and between the past and the present.  
  • have knowledge of the interconnections between issues of biography, sexuality, identity, memory, emotions and other areas defined as 'personal'  
  • have an appreciation of why and how the individual is important to the study of sociology  

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly lecture (1 x 2 hour)

Weekly tutorials (1 hour)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

non assessed presentation and coursework also included

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

Mason, Jennifer (2018) Affinities: Personal Connections in Personal Life, Cambridge: Polity

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

Smart, Carol (2007) Personal Life: New Directions in Sociological Thinking, Cambridge, Polity.

Jamieson, Lynn (1998) Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies, Cambridge: Polity.

Quaid, Sheila, Hugman, Catriona and Wilcock, Angela (2021) Negotiating Families and Personal Lives in the 21st Century: Exploring Diversity, Social Change and Inequalities. London: Routledge.

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

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Petra Nordqvist Unit coordinator

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