SO454      Half Unit
Families and Inequalities

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ursula Henz STC S100B


This course is available on the MSc in Inequalities and Social Science, MSc in Sociology and MSc in Sociology (Research). 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 family sociology, focusing on families in contemporary Western societies. It explores inequalities within and between families and the role of families in reproducing social inequality. Major themes include: childhood; adolescence, partnership formation and dissolution,  parenthood; gender roles and the division of paid and unpaid work; intergenerational transfers.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Reading week: week 6.

Formative coursework

Essay (1,500 words) 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). Selected recommended books: S Arber & C Attias-Donfut (2000) The Myth of Generational Conflict. The Family and State in Ageing Societies. London and New York: Routledge; B Fox (2009) When Couples Become Parents. The Creation of Gender in the Transition to Parenthood. Toronto: University of Toronto Press; A Hochschild, Arlie (2012) The Second Shift. Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. New York: Penguin; A Lareau (2011) Unequal Childhoods. Class, Race and Family Life. University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London; R A Settersten Jr., F F  Furstenberg Jr. & R G Rumbaut (eds.)(2005) On the Frontier of Adulthood: Theory, Research, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


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, S116, 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

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.7
Merit 61.8
Pass 23.5
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication