GY207      Half Unit
Economy, Society and Place

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Alan Mace


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? Through which other mechanisms is the choice of residential location influenced and how significant is the outcome? Employing the theory of Bourdieu throughout the half unit, we address these and other questions, examining the interrelatedness of economy, governance and society in influencing the choice of where we live. We focus on the role of culture in nuancing class-based explanations of the relationship between people and place. We consider how housing choices can confer social advantage or disadvantage on individual households. And we discuss the significance for policy makers of placing the social at the centre of our understanding of housing choices. We use a series of place-based typologies and phenomenon to relate 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.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
First 26.4
2:1 56.8
2:2 14.4
Third 1.6
Fail 0.8

Key facts

Department: Geography and Environment

Total students 2021/22: 59

Average class size 2021/22: 15

Capped 2021/22: No

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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