SO312      Half Unit
Work, Inequality and Society

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Patrick McGovern STC.S110


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

Sociological perspectives on cross-national differences in employment and social inequality.

Theoretical perspectives on inequality;  gender in the labour market; occupational segregation;  the ‘glass ceiling’; immigrant employment; race, ethnicity and discrimination; social class at work; class reproduction in elite firms; the rise of wage inequality; and income inequality in the mass media.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures/seminars, online materials and classes totalling a minimum of 20 hours in LT.

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

Formative coursework

1,500 word essay due in Week 8 of LT.

Indicative reading

W. Bottero , W. (2018) A Sense of Inequality;

Friedman, S. and Laurison, D. (2020) The Class Ceiling;

Tilly, C. & C. Tilly (1998) Work Under Capitalism;  

Grusky, D. (2014) (4th ed) Social Stratification;

McGovern, P. et al. (2007) Market, Class, and Employment;

Padavic, I. & Reskin, B. (2002) Women and Men at Work;

Payne, G. (ed.) (2013) Social Divisions

L. Platt, L.  (2011) Understanding Inequalities;

D. Tomaskovic-Devy, D. and D. Avent-Holt (2018) Relational Inequalities.

Further reading will be detailed in the course syllabus.


Essay (80%, 3000 words) in the ST.
Presentation (10%) and class participation (10%) in the LT.

An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on the submission day. Assessed essay due Monday of Week 1 in ST. 

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

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
First 20.3
2:1 60.8
2:2 17.6
Third 1.4
Fail 0

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: Sociology

Total students 2019/20: 29

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Capped 2019/20: Yes (30)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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