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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP3160 Education, Culture and Society

20 creditsClass Size: 90

Module manager: Prof Sarah Irwin

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

At least 20 credits at Level 1and 2 (40 in total) from a social science related discipline or the appropriate discovery theme.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

What is the place of education in society? How does it relate to social inequality? Do education systems provide opportunities for all, or do they reflect, or even reinforce, wider inequalities? In this module we will examine key debates, theoretical perspectives, empirical evidence and different areas of practical intervention. A particular focus throughout the module will be on class related inequalities and how these are reproduced, or altered, over time. We will seek a critical appreciation of research in the sociology of education, with reference to a range of areas including contemporary policies relating to schooling and higher education; family, parenting and educational inequalities; social class and gender inequalities in education and in transitions to the labour market; and education in international comparative perspective. Through the module we focus on education - society links. We do so with reference to school and university but crucially also to the experience and perspectives of children, young people and families as they engage with formal education.


On completion of the module students should have:

- a sound understanding of contemporary key debates within the sociology of education, and an in-depth knowledge of debates and research relating to education and social inequalities;
- developed an analytic understanding of different research methods and strategies of enquiry used within the sociology of education;
- developed a critical understanding of recent policy developments in a range of areas, and a sound grasp of their practical and theoretical implications;
- developed a critical understanding of issues relating to citizenship, diversity, equality, identity, power, the state and human welfare in the field of education;
- enhanced their sociological imagination and understanding, and their analytic competencies.

Learning outcomes
Students should have:
- attained a sound knowledge of different perspectives within key debates in the sociology of education;
- attained an understanding of the practical strategies and methods typically used within sociology of education research;
- developed knowledge of some key policy interventions within education, and their contexts and outcomes;

Students will be prepared for dissertation study and further scholarly research in the sociology of education.


The syllabus covers topics such as: Education policy in historical perspective; Schooling, inequality and social change; Family, parenting and educational inequalities; Gender and the reshaping of inequality; Governing education, comparative perspectives and PISA; Vocational and technical education; From education to the labour market: youth in international perspective; Neo-liberal Higher Education; Researching education

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours179.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Preparation reading for sessions 11x10 hours = 110 hours
- Preparation for essay + 69 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Attendance at seminars
- Participation and engagement during seminars

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words75.00
Written WorkBlog piece 1,000 words25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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