SO348      Half Unit
Family Diversity and Change

This information is for the 2022/23 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 not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission 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 post-divorce families; non-heterosexual families; intimate partnerships; parenting; transnational families. 


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.

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 & Gracia, Pablo (2022): A Sociology of Family Life. 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • 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.

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

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2021/22: 34

Average class size 2021/22: 17

Capped 2021/22: Yes (34)

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (MT)

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
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills