Personal Life, Intimacy and the Family

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ursula Henz S279


This course is available on the BSc in Sociology and Diploma in Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course provides an overview over the area of family sociology, drawing predominantly on literature about Britain and other Western societies. The course focuses on recent and ongoing transformations of families, family relationships and family life. Throughout the course various theoretical approaches will be considered. Issues related to gender, ethnicity and migration will be cross-cutting themes of the course. Indicative topics are: family structures and family relationships; the ‘new’ sociology of childhood, diverse childhoods, adolescence, partnership formation, homogamy, division of paid and unpaid work, childlessness, motherhood, fatherhood, divorce, post-divorce families, reconstituted families, sibling relationships, grandparenthood, childcare and eldercare, intergenerational transfers and ties, family relationships and well-being; family and the production of social inequality; ageing families.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

At least one class presentation and two formative essays (2,000 words each).

Indicative reading

Allan, Graham & Crow, Graham (2001) Families, Households and Society. New York: Palgrave. Beck, Ulrich & Beck-Gernsheim, Elisabeth (1995): The Normal Chaos of Love. London: Polity Press. Giddens, Anthony (1992): The Transformation of Intimacy. Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies. Oxford : Polity Press. Hochschild, Arlie (1990): The Second Shift. Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. London: Piatkus. Lareau, Annette (2011): Unequal Childhoods. Class, Race and Family Life. University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London. McRae, Susan (ed.)(1999): Changing Britain. Families and Households in the 1990s. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Morgan, David (1996): Family Connections: An Introduction to Family Studies. Cambridge, Mass: Polity Press. Scott, Jacqueline, Treas, Judith & Richards, Martin (eds) (2004): The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Families. Oxford: Blackwell.


Exam (70%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (30%, 2500 words) in the ST.

Exam will be held during the Summer Term exam session. Two hard copies of the assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S219A, no later than 16:30 on the first Wednesday of Summer Term. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day.


Student performance results

(2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 10
2:1 85
2:2 5
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2012/13: 21

Average class size 2012/13: 13

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills