BASS Philosophy and Data Analytics

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Cities and Urban Life

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOCY30061
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This course provides students with an understanding of theoretical developments and debates in urban sociology and critically examines accounts of urbanisation. It explores from a sociological perspective the transformations affecting city formation and life in cities, including the shift from industrial to post-industrial economies, globalization and extensive mobility, the emergence of global cities, mega cities and slums. We engage with a range of recent developments, from suburbanisation to regeneration and New Urbanism. The course examines the effects of design on use of space, and the practices and experience of living in a city. We investigate how power is performed through the built environment and the role played by the pursuit of security in the urban. The course engages critically with literature and cutting-edge developments in theoretical and substantive areas of urban sociology, from debates on inequalities, sociality and changing interactions in public spaces to an assessment of Sustainable Cities, Smart Cities and Sensor Cities. This course also enhances students' knowledge and skills in conducting independent social research, developing valuable transferable skills.

Aims

This course aims to: 

  • examine sociological accounts of urbanization and the development of cities; 
  • establish an understanding of the links between urbanisation and other social developments in areas such as the economy, industry and politics; 
  • critically discuss urban human forms of sociality, for example interactions in public spaces; 
  • provide students with an understanding of theoretical developments and current and topical debates in the field of urban sociology; 
  • enhances students' knowledge and skills in conducting independent social research, developing valuable transferable skills.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will: 

  • be able to account sociologically for urbanization and the development of cities; 
  • have developed a complex understanding of the links between urbanisation and other social developments in areas such as the economy, industry and politics; 
  • be able to critically discuss urban human forms of sociality and sociabilities, for example interactions in public spaces; 
  • have a critical understanding of theoretical developments and topical debates in the field of urban sociology; 
  • have developed knowledge and skills in conducting independent social research, and will be able to transfer the critical thinking and research skills acquired to a range of settings; 
  • be able to apply these theories to their own experiences of living in a city.

Teaching and learning methods

Material will be delivered weekly in a lecture-style two-hour session, followed by an interactive one-hour workshop.

Weekly 3 hour (2hr Lecture plus 1hr workshop).

Assessment methods

Non-assessed mid-term written coursework submission (between 400-500 words)

Assessed essay, 2,500 words (100%)

Feedback methods

This course includes 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

  • Amin, A. (2013). Telescopic urbanism and the poor. City, 17(4): 476-492 
  • Amin, A and Thrift, N (2002). Cities: Reimagining the Urban. Cambridge, Polity 
  • Farias, I and Bender, T (eds.) (2010). Urban Assemblages: How Actor-Network Theory Changes Urban Studies. Abingdon: Routledge 
  • Graham, S. (2009). Cities as Battlespace: The New Military Urbanism. City, 13(4): 383 -402 
  • Hutchison, R, Gottdiener, M and Ryan, MT (2015). The New Urban Sociology (5th ed). New York: Westview Press

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Elisa Pieri Unit coordinator

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