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Cultivating a Sociological Imagination - SOC00001C

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  • Department: Sociology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Raphael Nowak
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

This course does three things.

First, it serves as an introductory course to substantive sociological topics and social divisions that are experienced in everyday settings: ageing and the life-course; class and stratification; culture; diversity; gender and sexualities; health, illness and the body; politics; race and ethnicity; and so on.

Second, it has been designed to introduce students to the research interests of staff working in the department. By doing this, you ll get a sense of what our staff interested in, how their work relates to the big topics of social research and the potential themes of courses developed for later in the degree programme. This will help you to select your second and third year modules.

Third, it should help you to cultivate a sociological imagination from the start of your studies, and get you thinking creatively about the topics mentioned above. As an example, in your week of lectures on gender, as well looking at significant theories about gender, we get you to read a research paper which helps us to think about body hair as constitutive of gendered identity or norms, in an everyday and embodied way. Or, in the week of lectures on social class, we look at research that uses stand-up comedy as a prism through which contemporary class distinctions are articulated. Thus we can locate our everyday experiences within much wider debates and cultural processes.

Module learning outcomes

  • To cultivate a sociological imagination
  • To inculcate good academic practices at the outset of your sociological studies
  • To introduce basic concepts and empirical studies relating to selected substantive issues in contemporary sociology, especially those relating to the analysis of social divisions.


Task Length % of module mark
Assessment 1 - 1000 Word Review Essay
N/A 20
Assessment 2 - 1500 Word Essay
N/A 30
Assessment 3 - Cultivating a Sociological Imagination
N/A 50

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

This module will be assessed via a two hour examination. The questions for the exam will be made available to students via the VLE two weeks in advance of the examination date, but the examination itself will be taken under 'closed' conditions - that is, no source materials will be available to students inside the examination room.


Task Length % of module mark
Cultivating a Sociological Imagination
N/A 100

Module feedback

Complete feedback will be provided by the first week of the term following the teaching of the module. It will usually consist of four main components:

1. SEMINARS: Your tutors will complete a report for each module giving her/his judgment and comments about your performance and progress during the term in relation to various indicators and skills/abilities. The aim is to encourage students to improve their study skills, to build confidence in their intellectual abilities and their capacity to express participate constructively in group discussion. You will be shown the report forms for the previous term s modules at supervision meetings at the beginning of each term. For this reason, it is vital that you attend these meetings.

2. MODULE MARKS: You will receive these from the Departmental Office. They will be based on your essay and will enable you to judge the relative standard of your work since the same marking scheme is applied to summative Finals Assessment.

3. ESSAY COMMENT FORM: Your tutor will fill this out in detail, commenting on your essay's style, organisation and structure in line with the Department's published marking criteria. Together with your mark, these detailed comments should enable you to judge your performance according to the learning outcomes specified by the Department for each module. You should take these forms with you to your meetings with your supervisor in order that s/he can provide you with overall feedback on your termly performance.

4. EXAMINATIONS: When you meet with your supervisor in Week 1 of Term 4, s/he can arrange to have your examination scripts available from Term 3. You will have the opportunity to receive verbal feedback on your performance from your supervisor, together with the breakdown of your achievement in each component of the examination. You will need to let your supervisor know in advance if you wish to do this.

Indicative reading

There are no set texts, and all essential reading is provided via the vle. However, some books which speak to the themes of the course are:

  • Back, L. (2007) Art of Listening Oxford: Berg
  • Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (We will provide links to the most relevant chapter - but if you want to buy your own copy, any edition will do)
  • Payne, G. (ed) (2006), Social Divisions (2nd Edn) Basingstoke: Palgrave

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.