The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer. There is the option in each year to take modules from other schools and departments.
Typical Year One Modules
Investigating Social Worlds
This module will introduce you to the basics of philosophical, ethical and methodological debates on the production of knowledge about the social world. The module will allow you to explore two of the major research traditions within the social sciences – positivism and interpretavism and how these are linked to some basic methods of data gathering such as surveys, interviews, observation and others used in social science research. In the second semester, working in small groups with other students, you’ll be offered a practical experience of using qualitative and quantitative research methods. You’ll spend around three hours per week within lectures and seminars as well as having a weekly two-hour workshop.
Understanding Contemporary Society
You will be introduced to a range of approaches in social analysis to equip you with the necessary skills for advanced study of contemporary society. You’ll spend around two hours in lectures each week as well as having a weekly one-hour tutorial.
Global Studies and Human Rights
This module outlines the key theoretical approaches and concepts associated with the analysis of processes of globalisation ( social, economic and political) and their implications for human rights. These topics are introduced via case studies. You’ll spend two hours in lectures and 2 one hour in seminars.
Science, Health and Environment
This module considers the role of science and technology in contemporary society. You will familiarize yourself with theories about science and technological innovation, and understand how science and technology manifest themselves in society, especially with regard to environmental and health issues. The module combines theoretical work with empirical case studies, thus providing you with a sound understanding of important aspects of the role that science and technology play in our lives. Youll spend one in seminars and two hours in lectures each week.
Typical Year Two Modules
Research, Design & Practice
A primary aim of this module is to give a critical overview of different paradigms within sociological research, so that you are better equipped both to design your own research and to assess and evaluate the work of others. The first part considers the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research methods while the second part focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the social survey as a research strategy. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures as well as two hours per week in workshops
Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory
What is sociological knowledge, what are its key objects of study and how do those change? Whose knowledge is represented within sociology? What is the relation of the history of sociology to the present and how is the history of sociology told in relation to particular issues of the present? The module will address these issues through the ideas of classical social theorists (including Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, G.H. Mead and W.E.B. Du Bois), as well as contemporary writers and key theoretical movements such as feminism and postcolonialism. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures as well as two hours per week in seminars.
Family and Social Divisions
You’ll consider the sociological approaches to the family ranging from early functionalist accounts to the feminist problematisation of such accounts. Starting from feminist critiques of the family the first part of the module will explore issues of gender, power and patriarchy. Drawing on second-wave feminism, the second part of the module will consider issues of diversity in family practices. Topics covered will include gender and families, families and class, families and race, migrant and transnational families, sexuality, and age and generation. Contemporary debates around the breakdown, democratisation or continuity in contemporary families will also be addressed. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Body, the Self and Others
This module will encourage you to think critically about the body as a political entity, which carries significant meanings in society in terms of power, resistance, expression, control, deviance, individualism, risk and inequality. It asks: what is a body, what does it stand for and what is its relationship to the self and to Others? What are the social and political forces that shape human bodies and bodily experience, and how are those experiences expressed and read? How are different bodies perceived, valued and treated? This module will examine the body not through the lens of the physical or biological sciences but as the product of complex social arrangements and processes. In lectures and seminars, the module examines the body as the container and expression of the self, as the object of social control, and as the repository of shifting race, gender and sexual categories
Ethnicity and Everyday Life
You’ll examine the intersection of two key concepts in contemporary sociology – ethnicity and everyday life. In particular you’ll consider the following topics: Existing sociological theories of everyday life concerning its political relevance and historical specificity as well as methodological issues as to how ‘the everyday’ has been researched. Sociological models of ethnicity, the construction of ethnic boundaries and identities, the relationship between ‘culture’ and ‘ethnicity’, and its relevance in the contemporary world. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
History of British Social Policy
You’ll undertake a critical review of some of the key issues in the development of British social policy, including the shift from the Poor Law to an income maintenance scheme, the impact of philanthropy and the changing role of the State in the 20th century. You will have a two hour lecture once per week.
Belief, Spirituality and Religion
You’ll examine the key issues in sociological issues and debates in relation to the religion/spirituality and non-religious belief systems. They include transformation of religion, the spiritual revolution, fundamentalism, atheism, secularism, scientism and freedom of expression versus sanctity of religion. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.
Typical Year Three Modules
This module explores a topic of your choice under the guidance of a tutor. Work on the dissertation extends over both semesters in the third year. The subject matter must be relevant to the student's Honours subject and approved by the tutor. The study may be entirely based on the analysis of secondary literature; alternatively it may involve the collection and analysis of primary data, including documentary or textual data.
Exploring Social and Cultural Life Through Film
Using different genres of film, you’ll examine contemporary theoretical and empirical debates in relation to a host of issues closely associated with the production and contestation of identity, culture, and everyday life. Underpinned by the central theoretical theme of cultural production, consumption, and practices, this module will illustrate the problematics of culture through the sociological exploration of social condition, identity, consumerism, consumption, consumer culture, slavery, choice, voluntary simplicity, intimacy, body, embodiment, sexual culture, desire, sexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, dress, fashion, multiculturalism, human rights and social inclusion/exclusion. You’ll have a three-hour lecture once a week to study for this module.
Migration, Multiculturalism and Citizenship
You’ll examine issues connected to the movement and settlement of people in Europe, considering migration and citizenship debates and practices in a critical, comparative and historically informed manner. The first part of the course explores the political, social and economic factors that cause people to move in an increasingly interconnected world. The second part of the course is dedicated to the examination of the different theories of integration and settlement and processes of inclusion and exclusion. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
The Sociology of Work and Employment
You’ll consider key topics within the study of work in this module. You will begin by reflecting on the meaning of ‘work’ itself. You’ll question in what ways work might differ from leisure: is one fun and the other not? You’ll also look to the development of work and employment over time, across different societies, and at social inequalities in terms of ‘who does what work for whom’. Towards the start of the module you’ll explore how work is represented: in art, literature and on television, for example. After that you will study a range of topics that includes – in no set order here - the role of the body in work; aesthetic and emotional labour; work-life balance; work-time; unemployment and housework. You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module
Analysing Public Policy
You’ll examine how public policy is made within government, providing you with understanding of how policy is formulated, implemented and evaluated. You’ll focus on key phases of the policy process, from agenda-setting to policy impact. You’ll spendi around two hours per week in lectures and examining case studies for this module.
Gender and Media
You’ll explore key debates and issues around contemporary representations of gender in the Anglo-American media. You’ll draw on case studies from a range of media genres and examine how mediated representations of gender intersect with other axes of difference such as race, class and sexuality, further exploring how changing mediated gender representations might be linked to wider social change. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Sociology of Prison and Incarceration
This module addresses both the sociology of incarceration (ie routes to, reasons for, and justifications given for enforced removal of liberty and confinement) and the sociology of prisons (ie social and institutional characteristics of imprisonment). You will consider the notion of a criminally deviant act and consequent ramifications (eg imprisonment), the relationship between welfare provision and imprisonment rates (eg social exclusion issues),the political and historical natures of punishment (eg overt versus covert practices), prisoner population demographics in the UK, roles, responsibilities, and issues for Her Majesty’s Prison Service, prison culture (both staff and inmate), institutionalisation theory and the nature of imprisonment, provision and receipt experiences of prison mental healthcare, sociological research in prisons (eg (in)famous ethnographies / contemporary analysis), and future directions for imprisonment (eg reducing reoffending strategies). You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module
Nationalisms: The Policies of Belonging and Exclusion:
In this module you will explore core sociological theories of the nation state and its relationship to nationalism; of “the stranger” and multiculturalism; of the interrelationships between culture, ethnicity, memory and nationalism; of the impact of globalization on national self-understandings etc. The module also explores methodological questions as to how and where to locate various forms of nationalism at the beginning of the 21st century
Tourism, Identity and Risk
You will explore contemporary theoretical debates in the sociology of tourism, with particular emphasis on how tourism locations are constructed, developed and sustained, the powers and dangers of the ‘tourist gaze’, tourism labour markets, tourism and identity, tourism and risk, and social/cultural change. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
You’ll examine the emergent field of transnational studies through an examination of different aspects of transnational migration. Themes that will be explored will be theoretical perspectives to understand transnational migration (eg transnational communities versus transnational social fields perspectives), the gendering of transnationalims, issues surrounding transnational families, questions of political participation and settlement, social capital, the meaning of return, home and belonging, and methodological considerations and innovations in the study of transnational migration. You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Technology, Material Culture and Social Change
This module uses everyday objects and technologies to explore large-scale social change and the history of modernity. You’ll use social theory, material cultural analysis and cultural history to explore the introduction and development of technologies in fields such as transport, communications, computing, fashion and finance. You’ll have two field trips outside of Nottingham to explore manufacture, design and social uses of material objects. The assessment entails a 5,000 word essay. You’llhave weekly three hour blocks combing lectures and discussions.