SO454      Half Unit
Families and Inequalities

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ursula Henz STC S100B


This course is available on the MSc in Inequalities and Social Science, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). Places are allocated based on a written statement. Priority will be given to students on the MSc in Inequalities and Social Science, the MSc in International Migration and Public Policy and MSc in Sociology. This may mean that not all students who apply will be able to get a place on this course.

Course content

The course provides an introduction into selected issues of family sociology, focusing on families in contemporary Western societies. It addresses inequalities within and between families and the role of families in reproducing social inequality. Major themes include: childhood; transition to adulthood; partner selection; marriage, divorce and post-divorce families; parenting; gender roles and the division of paid and unpaid work; intergenerational ties.


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

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

Formative coursework

Essay (1,500 words) in the AT.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course. General reading: J Treas, J Scott, M Richards (eds.) (2014) The Wiley Blackwell Companion to The Sociology of Families, Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell. Selected recommended books: S Arber & C Attias-Donfut (2000) The Myth of Generational Conflict. The Family and State in Ageing Societies. London and New York: Routledge; A Hochschild, Arlie (2012) The Second Shift. Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. New York: Penguin; A Lareau (2011) Unequal Childhoods. Class, Race and Family Life. University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London.


Online assessment (90%) in January.
Class participation (10%) in the AT.

The online assessment will be a take home exam (2 questions, 90%) to be taken in an 8-hour window in the January exam period.

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

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2022/23: 16

Average class size 2022/23: 17

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: 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
  • Team working
  • Communication