Power, Inequality, and Difference: Contemporary Themes in Sociology

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Fran Tonkiss STC.S205


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 critical areas of theory and analysis in contemporary sociology. Students will gain an understanding of leading-edge research and debates within the discipline, and of how sociology engages with key real-world problems. The sociological issues covered in the course centre on the ways in which power relations, social and economic inequalities, forms of identity and difference are shaped in contemporary societies – focusing on both formal political and socio-economic structures and everyday experiences and identities. . These issues include: class, capitals and social mobility; race, ethnicity and multi-culturalism; politics and the nation-state, social movements and social conflict; gender, sexuality and the body.


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

M. Savage, Social Class in the 21st Century (2015); B. Skeggs, Formations of Class and Gender (1997); L Back and J Solomos (Eds), Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader (2000); A Gutmann (Ed), Multiculturalism: Examining the Poliitcs of Recognition (1994); B Anderson, Imagined Communities (1983); E Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (1983); M. Flinders, Defending Politics: Why Democracy Matters in the Twenty-First Century (2012); S Jackson & S Scott (Eds), Gender: A Sociological Reader (2002); K Woodward (Ed), Questioning Identity: Gender, Class and Ethnicity (2004); G Bhattacharyya Sexuality and Society (2002); D Bell and J Binnie, The Sexual Citizen: Queer Politics and Beyond (2000).


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

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
First 8.3
2:1 74.6
2:2 13.2
Third 0
Fail 3.9

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2016/17: 70

Average class size 2016/17: 12

Capped 2016/17: No

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (MT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 63%



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)