The Sociology Department at City is a leading centre for teaching and research in sociology. The ethos of the Department is defined by its commitment to a global research agenda and its mission to provide the highest quality teaching at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels. Courses focus on important contemporary topics and debates such as cultural and socio-economic transformations, media and communications, social stratification and class formation, gender and sexuality, crime, control and criminal justice, race relations and new ethnicities, migration, human rights, and citizenship and cosmopolitan identity.
The following courses are scheduled to run in 2014/5:
SG1005 Media History and Politics
This course introduces students to the sociology of the media in contemporary society and prepares them for further study and research in this field. The module covers the history of journalism, the press and the broadcasting media in Britain.
SG1006 Contemporary Issues in Media Studies
This course provides an overview of the relationship between media and politics and includes a lecture on the government's media policy. It discusses the main approaches and theories in the field of media and communications, such as 'political economy', 'mass culture and ideology' and 'cultural studies'. The module also examines media reception, media effects, media influence and audiences. The final part of the module speculates on media and its futures and includes lectures on media and new technologies and on digital broadcasting.
SG1015 Foundations of Sociology
The main purpose of is to introduce you to the key thinkers that helped to shape sociology as a field of study and research, the way their ideas and research agendas emerged and developed, and to provide you with some of the conceptual tools that will be useful to you as your studies develop. It provides a roughly chronological overview of the origins, development and intellectual foundations of the discipline. We aim at the beginning of the module to explore and discuss the core ideas that helped to shape how sociology has sought to analyse and understand social phenomena. We begin by looking at C. Wright Mills ideas about the sociological Imagination. In doing so we shall critically evaluate Mills's notion that sociological analysis involves the ability to think about people's lives not just in individualist terms, but also in terms of how they are situated in relation to social structures and to the large forces of history. From this starting point we then bring in the work of key theorists and their use as tools for framing sociological analysis. This includes the classical work of Marx, Durkheim and Weber. This part of the module helps you investigate how each of the classical theorists discussed in the different weeks says something that can be useful and enriching to our understanding of how to think sociologically about both past and contemporary societies. The module then focuses on the development of sociological perspectives influenced by the Chicago School, feminism and studies of race. The concluding lectures take up the questions about how sociology analyses social divisions and the transition from modernity to postmodernity.
SG1016 Sociology in Action
The module provides an introduction to some of the main areas of research and debate in contemporary sociology. It does not presuppose any previous knowledge of sociology. The module provides an introduction to some of the main areas of research and debate in contemporary sociology including family, sexuality, identity and religion. The course introduces you to the theoretical and methodological frameworks used by sociologists, and the implications of these for our understandings of sociological issues. Students will learn how to understand and apply theory to social phenomena and critique research methodologies.
SG1021 Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
Numbers are everywhere: in the media, in political and policy debate, in advertising and in social research. This module helps you develop a critical approach to statistical claims and the analysis of quantitative data. The module will be problem based - with different units focused on the analysis of key sociological, criminological, media and political issues. Each unit will involve you in developing specific analytic tools, from simple descriptive representation of data, to the use of graphs, to bivariate analysis and confidence testing.
• To develop your confidence in reading and working with quantitative data
• To enable you to critique the analysis of others (and for example differentiate quality social
scientific analyses from 'dodgy data')
• To ensure that you have the tools to conduct your own analysis on a range of issues
SG1018 Exploring London
This module highlights the centrality of London to the work of the Department of Sociology at City University.
The module will encourage you to explore London through a variety of texts, films and walks with the aim of analysing and experiencing first hand some of the issues at the core of city debates.
You will be gain an understanding of the issues at the core of a global city like London by exploring issues of concern to the social sciences such as urban culture, social divisions, patterns of migration, cosmopolitanism and localism, and the heightened role of media and communications.
You will be encouraged to engage with London as a subject of study to develop your knowledge and understanding of sociological issues and initiate critical observations.
SG1019 Introduction to Criminology: Structure
This module provides an introduction to key issues, perspectives, and debates in criminology, and focuses on 'structural' approaches to understanding crime and criminal justice. You will examine societal-level theories of crime and justice, and explore how these theories shape understanding of criminal offending and victimisation, and informal and formal responses to 'the crime problem'.
SG1020 Introduction to Criminology: Agency
This module provides an introduction to key issues, perspectives, and debates in criminology, and focuses on 'agency' approaches to understanding crime and criminal justice. You will examine individual-level theories of crime and justice, and explore how these theories shape understanding of criminal offending and victimisation, and informal and formal responses to 'the crime problem'.
SG1014 Understanding the Modern World
This course will run in parallel with and complement Introduction to Sociology. Introduction to Sociology is theoretical in orientation; whereas this module will be empirical and historical, offering the students knowledge and understanding of historical developments, social change, social institutions and social cleavages.
- To complement the Introduction to Sociology providing the historical and global context in which social change occurs.
- To enable students to perceive continuities and changes over time, and to explore the causes and consequences of social change.
- To enable students to develop their analytical capacities and the ability to examine and critically evaluate the ways in which the past has shaped contemporary society
- To create a reservoir of knowledge and understanding that students can draw on throughout their undergraduate and postgraduate careers.
- To enable students studying other disciplines such as Psychology, Economics and Engineering, together with Study Abroad students, to complement their main subject with a historical-sociological perspective on the world
This course explores social changes that have occurred in the period known as Modernity through the lenses of social institutions (family, religion, the market) and social cleavages (gender, class, ethnicity etc). The first term explores these issues chronologically, while the second term focuses in on these issues in their contemporary context.
Indicative Reading List:
Cohen, R. and Kennedy, P. (2007) Global Sociology Basingstoke: Macmillan
Evans, M. (2006) A Short History of Modern Society: The Making of the Modern World Open University Press
Fulcher, J. and Scott, J. (2007) Sociology Oxford: Oxford University Press
Giddens, A. (2006) Sociology Oxford: Polity Press
S Hall and B Gieben (Eds) (1997) Formations of Modernity Polity Press
Macionis, J. and Plummer, K. (2005) Sociology: A Global Introduction London: Prentice Hall
I Marsh et al (2000) Sociology: Making Sense of Society Prentice Hall
I Marsh et al (1998) Classic and Contemporary Readings in Sociology
SG2027 Classical Sociological Theory
The module provides an introduction to some of the main areas of research and debate in contemporary sociology. It does not presuppose any previous knowledge of sociology. The module provides an introduction to some of the main areas of research and debate in contemporary sociology including family, sexuality, identity and religion. The course introduces you to the theoretical and methodological frameworks used by sociologists, and the implications of these for our understandings of sociological issues. You will learn how to understand and apply theory to social phenomena and critique research methodologies.
SG2028 Contemporary Sociological Theory
This module focuses on the development of social theory in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Around the enduring concern with understanding the possibility of social order, social reproduction, and social transformation, we explore some of the key ideas and theories which have made and remade sociology. We place a number of the most well-known contemporary social theorists in relation to each other and analyse their works by considering the historical contexts in which they emerged. In particular, we aim to approach social theory in terms of key questions posed by the rapidly changing circumstances of the early twenty-first century. In this respect, students will learn about both the enduring relevance and the explanatory limitations of classical social theory in the contemporary world. The module integrates 'old' and 'new' perspectives and concerns, demonstrating the continuing relevance of classical social theory to contemporary forms of social and political analysis. In addition, the module explores the extent to which social theorists of the twenty-first century face a number of unprecedented challenges.
SG2015 Circuits of Culture
This module provides a solid theoretical framework for understanding issues on cultural production, consumption and representation in the media & other cultural industries. It provides an opportunity for analytical discussion on these themes. The module will introduce students to conceptual and analytical frameworks relevant for the study of production, consumption and representation. It will encourage students to use the circuit of culture model as the basis of analysing a cultural product of their choice.
SG2016 New Media Challenges
- The Information Society?
- The Internet, Networks and Mobilities
- The Internet: New Ways of Work and a New Culture?
- Intellectual Property and the Commodification of Information
- New Media and Higher Education
- Inequalities and the Internet: Digital Divides
- Virtual Communities or Fragmentation?
- Surveillance and New Media
- Electronic Democracy: New Media, New Politics?
- Cyberspace and the Globalization of Culture
Preparatory Reading Suggestions:
Castells, M. (2001), The Internet Galaxy Oxford University Press
Urry, J. (2007), Mobilities Cambridge: Polity
Webster, F. (2006), Theories of the Information Society London: Routledge
SG2021 Understanding Social Change
- A new global economy? Myths and realities
- Winners and losers in the new global economy
- People on the move: refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants.
- Flexibilization and the new global knowledge economy: "living on thin air"?
- A new postmodern consumer society?
- Beck: living in dangerous times?
- Challenging globalisation: the new global anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist movements*
- The paradox of class: Bourdieu's cultural approach to class
- The feminization thesis: are women taking over men's jobs?
- Ethnic minority women and paid work
Preparatory Reading Suggestions:
Ahmed, S. (2003) South Asian Women and Employment in Britain
Bradley, H. (2000) Myths at Work
Bauman, Z. (2007) Consuming Life
Wajcman, J. (1998) Managing Like a Man
Marfleet, P. (2006) Refugees in a Global Era
SG2030 Sociology of Race and Racism
Module description will be available in August 2014
SG2025 Doing Sociology: Qualitative Methods
This module introduces you to qualitative research methods in the social sciences, including methodological approaches utilised in media research. The module does not presuppose any previous knowledge of social research methods. The module introduces you to different modes of qualitative data collection methods such as: interviews; focus groups and ethnography. It will also provide an overview of media research into political economy, thematic content analysis and visual methodologies. You will gain practical and transferable skills in designing and using topic guides for carrying out interviews and how to write-up and analyse research. The issue of values and ethics in social research is also discussed.
SG2026 Doing Sociology: Quantitative Methods
This module introduces you to quantitative research methods in the social sciences. The module does not presuppose any previous knowledge of social research methods. The module introduces you to quantitative data collection methods such as survey research, using questionnaires and utilising existing datasets for analysis. You will gain practical and transferable skills in designing questionnaires; and learning SPSS to analyse and interpret data.
SG2050 Food, Culture and Society
Outline and aims
The term food policy is now in common use in the British media as well as in British social policy. The issues food policy raises are contentious and tend to split along the fault lines of responsibility and skills -'if only the poor would cook, eat fruit and vegetables all would be okay'. Yet decisions about food are made within a complex web of influences from the power of the retailers to advertising to children. The current fault lines are leading to a reinvention of food poverty into the deserving and undeserving poor. The systems designed to offer assistance are similarly splitting along such lines eg you need to be referred to a food bank by a professional. All this has implications for broader social
policy and there is a need to understand the thinking and reasons behind such changes.
This module is designed to help you identify the key theories and models used to explain food choice and consumption, in the context of the wider dynamics of the food system. The content draws from social science, epidemiological and anthropological based studies. The learning focuses upon the relationship between consumers/citizens and culture. It draws on theories of consumption and from the social science, nutrition/medicine, psychology and anthropology literatures on food to explore these perspectives.
This module examines different facets of food and food choice in the UK. The focus is on the developed world and will include examples from other developed countries.
This module is designed to help you identify the key theories and models used to explain food choice and consumption, in the context of the wider dynamics of the food system and social and cultural determinants. Many health and food outcomes such as obesity have been considered within medical and nutrition science frameworks, this module will explore food choices within a framework of social determinants. The content draws from social science, epidemiological and anthropological based studies. The learning focuses upon the relationship between consumers/citizens and culture. It draws on theories of consumption and from the social science, psychology and anthropology literature on
food to explore these perspectives.
The module will examine the following:
Key sociological theories around food such as the proper meal (Douglas), the culinary triangle (Levi-Strauss) and food meanings (Barthes)
Using food poverty and obesity as key examples the module will explore how these can be constructed within social science frameworks of culture, social structures and income inequality as opposed to being medical constructs and outcomes.
Growing food inequalities in the UK.
The new food poverty from hunger to hunger and obesity.
The new austerity, food choices as a lifestyle factor.
How solutions to problems such as obesity and food poverty can be found in the wider social agenda of social structure and inequality.
Lessons from the US with respect to women infants and children.
Food welfare and foodbanks as well as other poverty solutions.
While the module is taught from a sociological perspective, it is also multidisciplinary in focus, introducing students to key concepts in social policy and epidemiology as well as medical and nutrition sciences.
SG2051 News and Society
Outline and aims
This module provides a firm theoretical and empirical foundation for understanding the production of news as well as the social and political affects of news in contemporary society.
1) To have a broad interdisciplinary knowledge of different approaches to the study of news, media sociology and political communications.
2) To have a general understanding of social, political and media/communications theory by looking at a range of media organisations, state institutions, political parties, and interest groups.
3) To develop intellectual, practical and transferable skills such as: an ability to analyse and evaluate different research methods and data; an ability to undertake independent research; improved analytical and presentational skills; improved communication and writing skills.
1) Introduction to liberal, critical, organisational and cultural theoretical perspectives on news production.
2) Case studies of news, including: environmental reporting, crime reporting, celebrity news, social issues.
3) Introduction to theoretical perspectives on news and politics, including Habermas/Public
Sphere and News Sources.
This module introduces students to a key sociological and global phenomenon. The aim of the course is to allow students to develop an in depth understanding of criminal victimisation, and some of the economic, cultural, political and social factors that shape both the phenomenon and the response to it.
Over 10 weeks, students on this course will explore criminal victimisation as a psycho-social, cultural and political phenomenon. It will also consider the development of the sub-discipline of Victimology. We will examine the different aspects of criminal victimisation, from causes to responses. The course will blend theoretical and empirical understanding.
SG3033 Quantitative Analysis of Social Research Data
This module introduces you to fundamentals of statistical data analysis and enables you to apply appropriate statistical methods in data analysis and present results in a meaningful way.
To understand basic statistical concepts useful in analysis of social research data; and apply basic statistical methods and present results in a meaningful and informative way.
The module covers basic statistical techniques useful in the analysis of social research data. Starting with the fundamentals of data analysis relating to variable measurement levels,sampling distributions and statistical inference hypothesis testing, the module then systematically progresses from simple statistical techniques involving univariate and bivariate analysis to more advanced multivariate analysis involving regression analysis.
SG2040 Violence and Criminal Justice Policy
This course provides you with an overview of the key issues and current debates in criminology and criminal justice.
1) To introduce you to key issues and debates around violence and criminal justice policy.
2) To introduce you to a range of criminological perspectives on violence, social order and the contemporary functions of the criminal justice system.
3) To introduce you to current thinking on violence and crime policy.
4) To introduce you to alternative forms of violence, crime and social control.
1) Current key issues informing criminological debate.
2) Key criminological perspectives on violence and criminal justice policy.
3) Key issues in violence control.
4) Politicization of violent crime and crime control.
5) The future of violence, criminal justice and social control.
SG2043 Key Issues in Criminology
This course provides you with an overview of the key issues and current debates in criminology and criminal justice.
1) To introduce you to key issues and debates in criminology and criminal justice.
2) To introduce you to a range of criminological perspectives on crime, social order and the contemporary functions of the criminal justice system.
3) To introduce you to current thinking on criminal behaviour and crime control.
4) To introduce you to alternative forms of crime and social control.
1) Current key issues informing criminological debate.
2) Key criminological perspectives on crime and criminal justice.
3) Key issues in crime control.
4) Politicization of crime control.
5) The future of crime, criminal justice and social control.
SG2255 Sociology of Punishment
This course introduces you to key sociological perspectives on punishment in modern society.
The aim of the course is to allow you to develop an in depth understanding of the sociology of punishment, and to engage with some of the moral, economic, cultural, political and social factors that shape punishment in modern society.
You will explore the philosophical foundations, theoretical perspectives, empirical researches, policy developments and practical dilemmas that inform and underpin punishment in modern society. The course will blend theoretical and empirical understanding.
SG3041 Global Migration Processes
This module introduces students to a key sociological and global phenomenon. The aim of the module is to allow students to develop a global and in depth understanding of this issue, and some of the economic, political and social factors that shape it.
Over 10 weeks students will explore migration as a social process. We will examine the different stages of this process, from causes to responses. The module will blend theoretical and empirical understanding.
SG3053 New Media: From Cyberspace to Social Media
This course aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of the approaches to, and constructions of, new media, particularly the Internet, games and mobile technologies.
1. To develop a critical understanding that new media are constructed ideologies.
2. To promote an awareness and understanding of different theoretical approaches and the limitations/uses of new media.
3. To provide an introduction to the critical analyses of new media by exploring the practices through which meanings are created, conveyed and interpreted.
1. Introduction to theoretical perspectives on new media in relation to the concepts of pleasure, promises and anxieties through:
2. Appreciation of diverse forms of new media including the Internet, games and mobile technologies.
3. Appreciation of the language and discourse used to construct new media as new, as novel and as variously pleasurable.
SG3036 Policing and Crime Control
To introduce students to the shifts that are taking place in the fields of policing and security. The course begins with consideration of policing role and function in historical and comparative perspective. Then it examines the sociocriminological context within which contemporary policing happens. New operational methodologies are then analysed. The course concludes with an examination of the issues and trends that will define future of policing and security will develop.
1. Develop an awareness and understanding of how societies have been policed.
2. Develop an understanding of the role of the police in contemporary society
3. Develop an understanding of the operational policing methods.
4. To appreciate the crime issues the police have to manage.
5. To understand the future of policing in contemporary London
1. Introduction to the key theoretical perspectives in policing studies.
2. Analysis of the operational methods that define contemporary policing.
3. Examination of the critical crime control issues facing the police.
4. To research policing and crime control in London.
SG3038 Youth, Crime and Society
This course enables students to examine the way that youth crime is dealt with as both a social and criminological problem.
1) To introduce students to the origins and development of youth justice.
2) To enable students to discuss and analyze concepts of youth and childhood within a sociological and criminological context.
3) To have a good understanding of the nature and extent of youth crime.
4) To introduce students to emergent issues and contemporary debates in relation to youth crime, for example issues of school violence, bullying and anti social behaviour
Students will develop an understanding of the sociological concept of youth both historically and currently as well as the phenomenon of their criminal activity.
SG3056 Crime, News and Criminal Justice
This module introduces you to the relationship between crime, news and criminal justice. It
discusses the main approaches and theories and research in the field of news media criminology.
The module also examines media effects and media influence on public attitudes towards crime,criminal justice and sentencing, the potential role of the news media in criminal justice reform and media based anti-crime initiatives. It complements other year 3 criminology modules as well as the other year 3 sociology modules.
• To review and evaluate the interrelationship between the news media, crime and criminal
• To demonstrate a working knowledge of the key theories of media approaches to crime and criminal justice.
• To understand the public, cultural and political significance of news representations of crime and criminal justice.
• To examine criminological research methods used to assess the effects of the news media on public understanding of the problem of crime.
SG3057 Television and Sport
Module description will be available in August 2014
SG3050 Gender and Society
This course provides an overview of some of the social processes that shape gender relations in contemporary societies. We describe and assess major accounts of the processes of becoming 'men' and 'women'. We argue that gender is a property of social institutions and culture as well as an element of individual identity. We examine the way in which key institutional areas such as divisions of labour, state policies, the social organisation of childbirth and childcare, sexuality, popular culture and the media, are permeated by gendered assumptions, and consider some of the implications of this for gender identities and inequalities in contemporary society.
a) To understand the main theoretical approaches to the study of gender and gender identities
b) To appreciate the multi-dimensional character of gender in contemporary societies, including familial, generational, community, ethnic, regional, national, and global aspects
c) To understand how gender relates to other dimensions of inequality, particularly race and class
1. Gender, power and difference
2. Sex, gender and the body revisited
3. What are gender identities? Theories and critiques
4. The emergence of masculinities and femininities in the 19th century
5. Changing patterns of working and caring in the 20th & 21st centuries
6. Explaining gender segregation in paid work
7. Gender and sexuality at work
8. Gender identities & family relationships
9. Masculinities & femininities today
10. Gender relations in the future
SG3045 Sociology of Race and Racism
This module introduces students to sociological research and scholarship on race and racism. It will allow students to follow up on some of the themes that we touch on in Year 1 and 2 and explore them in greater detail.
The aim of the module is to develop a critical understanding of divergent theories and perspectives on race and racism and to allow students to evaluate and analyse these theories.
The module will allow students to develop their understanding of sociological theories about race and racism and their application to the analysis of specific social phenomena.
SG3055 Sociology of Contemporary Europe
This module examines the nature and development of contemporary Europe from a variety of sociological perspectives. In particular, it aims to deepen your understanding of Europe's current place in the world and introduce you to central debates on the different ways in which Europe East, West, North, and South has evolved in the modern era.
SG3056 Crime, News and Criminal Justice
This module introduces you to the relationship between crime, news and criminal justice. It discusses the main approaches and theories and research in the field of news media criminology. The module also examines media effects and media influence on public attitudes towards crime, criminal justice and sentencing, the potential role of the news media in criminal justice reform and media based anti-crime initiatives.
SG3058 Understanding Global Media Flows
Outline and aims
This module introduces students to the discipline of international communication and aims to develop their knowledge and understanding of global media flows. It builds on the 1st and 2nd year media courses as well as on the Sociology modules that introduce students to the concept of globalisation (e.g. Understanding the Modern World). More specifically, it aims to:
To develop a theoretical understanding of the discipline of international
To promote knowledge and understanding of the global media system, including
the global media industry and the technology communications networks
To develop knowledge and understanding of transnational TV channels
To develop knowledge and understanding of the international TV format trade and industry.
To analyse the cultural impact of the global media
Introduction to the leading concepts and paradigms in international communication
Introduction to the global communications networks and their role in international communication (with special emphasis on communication satellites)
Introduction to the global media industry and its key players
Introduction to transnational TV channels
Introduction to the global TV format trade and industry.
Analysis of the cultural impact of global media
SG3060 Class and Culture
Outline and aims
This module focuses on the place of social class in Britain, both historically and contemporaneously. Social class acts as both as an important component of individual cultural identity and also as a structural force that can shape and define social life in ways that appear out of our control. In this module you will first explore the historical significance of class in Britain before going on to look at how many contemporary indicators of class have shifted away from the world of work and more towards the realm of consumption, taste and lifestyle. It is here, in the seemingly banal minutiae of everyday cultural preferences and practices, that it is perhaps most possible to discern the boundaries and divisions that separate social groups. Students will thus be introduced to the theoretical and methodological frameworks used by sociologists of class, and the implications of class analysis for their understandings of other sociological issues such as gender, age and ethnicity.
The module does not presuppose any previous knowledge of social class.
The main aims of the course are:
To introduce students to a range of historical debates and contemporary controversies in the sociology of class in Britain.
To introduce the key theoretical approaches to class and stratification used by sociologists.
To enable students to analyse and critique different approaches to measuring class.
To show how the study of class intersects with central topics covered in other second and third year sociology courses, such as gender and ethnicity.
As stated above, this course will begin by introducing the main theories of social class before going on to examine the history and origins of class and stratification in Britain, and its power as a vehicle for reproducing power and inequality. It will then look at the place of class in contemporary Britain, critically examining the claim made by some writers that class boundaries have been irrevocably eroded. The course will then move on to look at the seminal work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and his supposition that class boundaries are most clearly discernible from examining people's cultural taste, with the privileged using their preferences for 'highbrow' culture as a means of expressing their superiority over the working classes, who tend to prefer more 'lowbrow' culture. We interrogate how these arguments relate to today's Britain, where the lines between high and low culture are increasingly blurred, and where new taste distinctions exist even in traditionally lowbrow art forms, such as comedy and pop music. We then take a more detailed look at class-based boundaries in taste and lifestyle. In particular, we focus on the way in which the middle classes demonise sections of the working class based on what they consider to be 'pathological' consumption choices - focusing in particular on the 'Chav' phenomenon. We go on to explore both the meaning and consequences of such overt class prejudice.
Finally, the module will ask to what extent class boundaries are malleable? How easy is it for people to escape their backgrounds and move upward or downward in social space? In contemporary British society the idea of social mobility is seen as a primary indicator of a fair and just society. However, although the rates of social mobility were high in post-war Britain, mobility has slowed significantly in recent years. This final section of the course thus looks at contemporary patterns of social mobility, examining in particular both the social benefits and the social challenges that mobility implies and how it affects one's cultural identity.
SG3062 Work and Workers in the 21st Century
Outline and aims
The aim of this module is to consider the ways in which work and our understandings of it are changing. It will allow students to reflect on their own experiences of work (whether this comes from weekend, evening or holiday jobs, other full-time employment, or from experiences as customers/clients), while introducing them to key sociological arguments and theoretical developments. The module will provide an overview of the role and significance of work in contemporary society and of the intersection of work with other aspects of the social world. It will explore those activities most typically understood as work as well as activities, such as drug dealing, sex work and volunteering, which are more often conceptualised within alternative frameworks.
Students will become familiar with a range of theoretical and empirical studies relating to the changing worlds of work and workers in the 21st Century
The module will examine the following overarching issue:
Work has evolved from agriculture to industrial labour to, in the 21st century, forms of 'post-industrial' employment. We will ask whether the long historical trend of 'deskilling' and standardisation (or 'McDonaldisation'), has persisted or alternatively whether there has been a recent move towards a knowledge economy, with greater value placed on individual creativity. We will pay particular attention to the rise of 'non-standard' work (for example subcontracting, temping and self-employment). We will also discuss the increasing importance of (gendered and racialised) emotional, aesthetic and body
labour in today's service sector workplaces.
Other key themes in the module:
Most often sex work, drug dealing or volunteering are not considered as types of work, but in light of campaigns for the unionisation of sex workers; and for improved conditions for volunteers, we will explore the ways in which various types of unpaid, illegal or informal work are similar to, or different from, work in the formal economy. We ask why people engage in this work, and investigate the risks that this work can involve.
We also explore a working population that may be especially vulnerable to forms of superexploitation, migrant workers. There has been a lot of public and political attention to low paid migrant workers in Britain. We investigate this, but we also look at forms of work-migration that higher paid workers engage in (e.g. corporate employees trans-national migrations).
In both the UK and US, but also elsewhere there has been increasing worries about the 'overspill' from work into the rest of our lives (for example the ways in which work encroaches upon family life). We look into the times and spaces of work and the ways in which a boundary between work and life (the 'work-life boundary) is maintained or breached.
Although the working class may not have proved as revolutionary as Marx expected, workers have consistently, and often successfully, organised to resist the worst conditions that employers have tried to impose. This has most importantly been through trade unions, but has also involved informal resistance or even what's been called 'workplace misbehaviour'. We chart the various forms that this misbehaviour takes (for instance joking and petty theft) and examine the historical rise and decline in trade union activism in order to consider the role of trade unions in workers contemporary resistance.
Finally we discuss the absence of work: unemployment. Surprisingly perhaps, unemployment has increased less during the current recession than many people predicted. Nonetheless some groups, including young people, are experiencing increasingly high rates of unemployment and underemployment.
SG3063 Leisure, Power and Control
This module examines leisure as the time and space in which the ordinary constraints of life are either relaxed or released. Leisure is 'the freedom to be'. The course takes this position and unpicks it by demonstrating the relationship between leisure practice, class, race and gender. The aim is to expose the ideological work of leisure in strengthening the relations of power and inequality in capitalist society by appearing to provide workers with 'reward' and release.
The leading theoretical positions in the study of leisure will be examined. Key concepts such as 'freedom', 'determinism', 'voluntarism', 'serious leisure', 'casual leisure', 'social capital', 'distinction' and 'hegemony' will be examined and explained. The relationship between leisure (as a representation of freedom) and Modernity (with rationalization, bureaucratization, the division between private and public, individual and society) will be investigated.
The module will explore how leisure and culture have converged. The concepts of emotional labour and emotional intelligence will be explored to indicate how leisure drills the individual to adopt the required roles of consumer, citizen and worker.
The main aims of the course are:
To introduce you to the social construction and ideological import of leisure
To explore the key theoretical approaches to the study of leisure
To enable you to analyze and critique different approaches to leisure
To relate leisure systematically to power and control
What is Leisure?
Leisure and Power (Marx and Durkheim)
Leisure and Control (Weber and Freud)
The Abnormal Forms of Leisure
Case Study: Pop Music