SO348      Half Unit
Family Diversity and Change

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ursula Henz STC S100B


This course is available on the BSc in Language, Culture and Society 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.

This course has a limited number of places (it is capped). Places are allocated on a first come first served basis.

Course content

The course introduces students to the area of family sociology, focusing on contemporary families and intimate relationships in Britain and other Western societies. It provides theoretical and empirical perspectives on a range of topics, including single parent families and stepfamilies; same-sex families; partner selection; marriage and alternatives to marriage; childlessness; parenting.


20 contact hours in the MT.

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

Formative coursework

Students are required to complete one formative essay and one introduction of readings.

Indicative reading

  • Treas, Judith, Scott, Jacqueline & Richards, Martin (eds.) (2014) The Wiley Blackwell Companion to The Sociology of Families, Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell - covers many aspects of the course.

Other recommended readings include:

  • Chambers, Deborah (2012): A Sociology of Family Life. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Hochschild, Arlie (1990): The Second Shift. Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. London: Piatkus.
  • Lareau, Annette (2011): Unequal Childhoods. Class, Race and Family Life. University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London.
  • Smart, Carol & Neale, Bren (1999): Family Fragments? Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Smart, Carol, Neale, Bren & Wade, Amanda (2001): The Changing Experience of Childhood: Families and Divorce. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Allan, Graham; Crow, Graham & Sheila Hawker (2011) Stepfamilies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Coursework (10%) in the MT.
Take-home assessment (90%) in January.

The first assessment, a reading diary (10%), is due on Wednesday of Week 11 of Michaelmas Term.

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

Take home assessment to be completed during the January exam period.

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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills