SA429      Half Unit
Understanding Social (Dis)advantage

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Lucinda Platt OLD 2.25


This course is available on the MSc in Criminal Justice Policy, MSc in Inequalities and Social Science, MSc in International Social and Public Policy, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Development), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Migration), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations) and MSc in Social Policy (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The course is currently capped at 60 places. Offers of places will be made on the basis of applicants' statements. Priority for places is given to students on Social Policy MSc programmes and to students on the MSc Inequalities and Social Science. Students from departments other than the Department of Social Policy may be accepted onto a waiting list. Places remaining available three days before the start of the course will not be held back for late applicants from Social Policy programmes but offered to students from the waiting list.

Course content

This course addresses the emergence, maintenance and dynamics of social advantage and disadvantage in different areas of life across different societies and across different social groups. It explores inequalities in income, poverty & wealth, labour market position, family resources, education, crime, and life chances, with reference to social groups defined according to their gender, class, ethnicity, citizenship and migration status, disability, and country or neighbourhood of residence. It pays specific attention to intersectional, cumulative and relational processes in the reproduction of inequalities.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

A formative essay submitted in Week 6 of the Lent Term

Indicative reading

The core text for the course is: H Dean & L Platt (eds) 2016.Social Advantage and Disadvantage. Oxford University Press. Other indicative background reading: Milanovic, B. 2016. Global Inequality. The Belknap Press. McCall, L. (2005). ‘The Complexity of Intersectionality’. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30(3): 1771–800. Atkinson, A.B. (2015). Inequality: What can be done? Harvard University Press. Faist, T. (2016) 'Cross-Border Migration and Social Inequalities'. Annual Review of Sociology, 42: 323-346. Payne, G. (ed.) 2013. Social Divisions. Third Edition. Palgrave Macmilla.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 12.2
Merit 62.6
Pass 23.7
Fail 1.5

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2017/18: 38

Average class size 2017/18: 13

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 79%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)