GY207      Half Unit
Economy, Society and Place

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Alan Mace STC318b


This course is available on the BA in Geography, BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Environment and Development, BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics and BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

Why do people choose to live in particular places? Is it simply a trade off of affordability and housing space or are other factors at play? In what ways are residential choices influenced and how significant is the outcome? We address these and other questions with reference to the work of Pierre Bourdieu. Drawing on his theories we look at the role of culture in nuancing class-based explanations of place. In so doing we examine the inter-relatedness of economy, governance and society in influencing the choice of places where people live. We consider how these choices might confer social advantage or disadvantage to individual households and the significance of this for policy makers. We use a series of place-based typologies and phenomenon to relate the theory to practice. Examples might include but are not limited to; suburbanisation, rural second homes and gentrification. 


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures, in-person lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures in Lent Term. There is no teaching in week 11 due to the anticipated second year geography field trip. 


This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

The formative work will be an essay plan that directly prepares students for the summative work.

Indicative reading

  • Bourdieu, P. (2005) ‘Habitus’. In Jean Hillier and Emma Rooksby (eds) Habitus: a sense of place. 43-5.
  • Mace, A. (2017), Spatial capital as a tool for planning practice. Planning Theory 16(2) 119-132.
  • Peck, J. (2011). Neoliberal Suburbanism: Frontier Space. Urban Geography, 32(6), 884–919.
  • Savage, M. The Lost Urban Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu (chapter 45). In Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson (eds) The new Blackwell companion to the city. 511-520.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2019/20: 51

Average class size 2019/20: 17

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication