BASS Social Anthropology and Philosophy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Inequalities in Contemporary British Society

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOCY10402
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This module aims to introduce the discipline of sociology by highlighting the social aspects of everyday life in British society and the inequalities persisting within it. It also introduces you to sub-disciplines within sociology such class, education, race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, (dis)abilities, and ageing. This module is perfect for those who have previously studied sociology and want to explore it further, as well as for those who are new to the discipline.


There are five aims to this course:

1.    The course aims to introduce students to the discipline of sociology by highlighting the social aspects of everyday life in British society and the inequalities persisting within it.

2.    To introduce students to sub-disciplines within sociology by teaching a range of topics. The focus is on class, educational inequalities and employability, race, ethnicity and media representation, gender, sexuality, (dis)abilities and ageing.

3.    For students to gain an awareness of theoretical ideas and empirical research so they have an understanding of the relationship between sociological arguments and evidence.

4.    To enhance study skills by introducing students to a body of literature that they must read and evaluate for class discussions, exercises and essays. They will have a sense of the complexity of social life and different explanations of it and how to develop a reasoned argument around them. 

5.    To provide students with academic support for readings though the university's short loan collection. In other words, we seek to provide easy access to key and other readings so students have the opportunity to develop their study skills and undertake and present scholarly work in their first year of study at university.

Learning outcomes

Understand what it means to consider British society from a sociological perspective and to have a sense of the different fields within the discipline of sociology.

Have an understanding of the inherently social nature of everyday life and the various inequalities persisting within it. In addition to appreciating the processes by which social change and social stability co-exist.

Be able to analyse and answer questions sociologically.

Know more about a variety of theoretical perspectives in the discipline.

Be able to engage with different ideas and novel ways of seeing things.

Have a better understanding of recent empirical research.

Be aware of the use of different research methodologies and how they shape substantive findings.

Understand the relationship between theory and research.

Be able to handle a greater volume of reading material than before.

Know how to apply what they have learnt from readings to class discussions and exercises in essay writing                                                  

Appreciate the complexity of social situations and events and how they can give rise to different explanations that must be assessed in a reasoned way

Teaching and learning methods

Each week there will be a two-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial. Tasks for each week are specified in detail in the weekly folders available on Blackboard.

Assessment methods

One non-assessed task offering formative feedback

One assessed coursework essay, 1500 words; 50% of mark

1 hr exam (or online equivalent); 50% of mark

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

Required readings will be made available electronically via Blackboard. All other readings should be available from the University Main Library. The following more general textbooks are helpful and recommended:

Giddens, A. and Sutton, P.W. (2017) Sociology, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Macionis, J. and Plummer, K. (2012) Sociology a Global Introduction, Harlow: Pearson.

Cohen, R. and Kennedy, P. (2007) Global Sociology, London: 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
Bridget Byrne Unit coordinator

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