SO454      Half Unit
Families in Contemporary Societies: a Life Course Perspective

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ursula Henz S279


This course is available on the MSc in Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course provides an introduction into selected issues of the sociology of the family as well as an introduction of core concepts of life-course research. It examines continuities and changes in modern life-courses by drawing on a rich body of empirical studies about the family.

Major themes include: concepts of the life course; childhood; reproducing inequality; parenthood and childlessness; causes and consequences of divorce; gender roles and the division of paid and unpaid work; intergenerational ties.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course. General reading:

J Scott, J Treas & M Richards (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Families (2004); S McRae (ed.), Changing Britain. Families and Households in the 1990s (2000); U Beck & E Beck-Gernsheim, The Normal Chaos of Love (1995) ; G H Elder & J Z Giele The Craft of Life Course Research (2009); D Morgan, Family Connections: An Introduction to Family Studies (1996); C Smart & B Neale Family Fragments? (1999); J M White & D M Klein, Family Theories (1996).


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

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

Attendance at all seminars and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2009/10, 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 15.8
Merit 57.9
Pass 26.3
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2012/13: 13

Average class size 2012/13: 13

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 76.9%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)