Power, Inequality, and Difference: Contemporary Themes in Sociology

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Francine Tonkiss STC S114


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Sociology. This course is available on the BSc in Social Policy and BSc in Social Policy and 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 introduction to different substantive areas of work in contemporary sociology. Students will gain an understanding of leading-edge research within the discipline worldwide. The sociological problems covered in the course can vary from year to year. They normally include: Class, power and inequality; Race, ethnicity and multi-culturalism; Nation states, war and conflict; Money, markets and work; Identity, cosmopolitanism, nationalism and religion; Gender, sexuality and the body; Crime, punishment and deviance; Family and the lifecourse; Health, illness and biomedicine.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 4 hours of classes in the ST.

Reading weeks: week 6 (MT) and week 6 (LT)

Formative coursework

Two formative essays in MT, one formative essay in LT.

Indicative reading

S Hall & B Gieben (Eds), Formations of Modernity (1992); R Sennett, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (1998); S Sassen, Global Networks, Linked Cities (2002); M Castells, The Rise of the Network Society (2000); S Hall, Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, (1997); D Held et al, Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture (1999); N Dodd, The Sociology of Money: Economics, Reason & Contemporary Society (1994); V Zelizer, The Social Meaning of Money (1997); D Slater, Consumer Culture and Modernity (1997); S Jackson & S Scott (Eds), Gender: A Sociological Reader (2002); S Jackson & S Scott, Feminism and Sexuality A Reader (1996); K Woodward (Ed), Identity and difference (2002); P Gilroy, After Empire: melancholia or convivial culture? (2004); D Downes & P Rock, Understanding Deviance: a guide to the sociology of crime and rule breaking (2003); U Beck & E Beck-Gernsheim, The Normal Chaos of Love (1995); J Metzel and A Kirkland, Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality.


Exam (70%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (30%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Two hard copies of the assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S116, no later than 16:30 on the first Tuesday of Summer Term. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day.

Attendance at all classes is required and submission of all set coursework is compulsory

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
First 8.5
2:1 68.1
2:2 19.1
Third 0
Fail 4.3

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2015/16: 91

Average class size 2015/16: 16

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 91%



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)