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Cultivating a Sociological Imagination - SOC00016C

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  • Department: Sociology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Raphael Nowak
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module introduces the idea of the ‘sociological imagination’, which comes from the seminal work of US sociologist C Wright Mills. You will be encouraged to develop your own 'sociological imagination' as we explore connections between our personal, everyday lives and larger social forces and realities.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

What does it mean to have a sociological imagination? How does this inform sociology as a discipline and the direction of contemporary sociological research? In this module we introduce you to the notion of the ‘sociological imagination’, originally from the work of the US sociologist C Wright Mills. Through the sociological imagination, we see the connections between our personal, everyday lives and larger social forces and realities, which are crucial to fully understanding how they have come to be. This module helps you to cultivate your sociological imagination, to learn its ‘craft’ as well as to read about it, and to think creatively about the significance of everyday life through a sociological lens.

Module learning outcomes

Articulate an understanding of the concept of the sociological imagination as an analytical approach and its place in wider debates

Use sociological analyses to make sense of the wider significance of personal experiences and everyday social objects

Communicate the different ways that sociologists have developed analyses and critiques of contemporary social life

Creatively convey complex ideas through written and oral forms of communication


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

For formative work - Short Written Assessment: Cultural Artefact - students will receive written or verbal feedback on how to improve their skills in areas that will contribute towards their summative assessment. The formative assessment provides practice for the summative tasks which are in line with MLO 1-4.

For summative work - Essay - students will receive an overall mark and grading according to clearly defined criteria for assessing their knowledge, skills and abilities in line with MLO 1-4 . They will also receive written feedback showing areas in which they have done well and those areas in which they need to improve that will contribute to their progress.

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.