SO310      Half Unit
The Sociology of Elites

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Michael Savage STC S210


This course is available on the BSc in Language, Culture and Society, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Sociology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


No specific pre-requisites, but this course is only open to 2nd and 3rd year students in Sociology and other programmes. It is not available as a 1st year option.

Course content

In the early 21st century, there is a new fascination with the super-rich, the 1%, the 'elites'. This course therefore aims to expose students to the challenges and excitements of studying this small but very significant social class, using cutting edge research on recent trends as well as important older studies.


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

Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in LT Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

Formative assessment will be through a 2000 word essay to be handed in on the Monday of Week 7, directly after Reading Week. Students will also be asked to give presentations in seminars, and informal feedback will be given on these.

Indicative reading

Piketty, T., (2014), Capital in the 21st Century, Boston, Harvard UP.

Khan, S., (2010), Privilege, Princeton, Princeton UP.

Dorling, D., (2014), Inequality and the 1%, London, Verso.

Savage, M., and Williams, K., (eds) (2008), Remembering Elites, Oxford, Blackwells.

Scott, J., (1982), The Upper Class, Macmillan.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (50%, 2000 words) in the ST.

An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on the submission day.

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

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2018/19: 31

Average class size 2018/19: 15

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills