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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP3090 Citizenship, Identity and Social Change

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Angharad Beckett

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

Pre-requisite qualifications

At least 40 credits in Social Science discipline at Level 2

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module asks 'what is citizenship and why does it matter?' It introduces students to historical and contemporary debates relating to citizenship and shows how these intersect with a wide range of issues familiar to social scientists, including: - in/equality- identity and diversity- inclusion/exclusion- political agency- risk society- globalisation- cosmopolitanism- human rights. The dynamic and contested nature of citizenship will be explored, as will the impact of particular models of citizenship upon policy discourse and social change. This is a module that encourages students to engage with a range of questions that are at the very centre of political debate within contemporary society, for example: - How can 'equal citizenship' be compatible with economic inequality?- What is meant by 'active citizenship' - can everyone be an active citizen?- What do we mean by 'sexual citizenship'?- What are cultural rights?- Did 9/11 mark the beginning of the end for multicultural citizenship?- Do we live in a 'risk society' and if so, what are the implications for citizenship?- What is meant by 'ecological citizenship'?- Do human rights 'replace' citizenship rights?- Can we educate people to be 'better' or 'model' citizens?Although this module will involve in-depth consideration of theoretical ideas relating to citizenship, discussions will be 'grounded' in real-life issues. In addition to an increased knowledge about citizenship, students will gain an enhanced understanding of a wide range of issues within sociology and social policy. The module will also provide students with an opportunity to engage in interesting and politically relevant debates, enhance their abilities with regard to critical analysis and be assessed on the basis of both written and verbal skills.


This module will introduce students to the 'citizenship debates' and will explore the reasons behind the current renewed interest in citizenship within the social sciences. The module will consider transformations in our understanding of citizenship that have been brought about by the following: neo-liberalism; identity politics; changing nature of social and political engagement; the emergence of new risks and uncertainties (in particular those associated with global terrorism and ecological concerns); and the dual processes of globalisation and localism. The module will examine a range of competing approaches to citizenship, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each and encouraging students to develop their skills in critical analysis. The module will also involve discussions about a wider range of social science concepts such as 'in/equality', 'identity and diversity', 'inclusion/exclusion', 'social closure', 'political agency', 'risk society', 'globalisation', 'cosmopolitanism', 'human rights' and 'social change'. Students will therefore acquire an enhanced understanding of how wider sociological debates and theories intersect with notions of citizenship. Whilst primarily a sociology module, attention will also be given to the concept of citizenship as it appears within policy discourses (in this case within immigration, social welfare and education policies in the UK). While much of the module will be concerned with competing theories and conceptual understandings, all discussions will be 'grounded' or contextualised with reference to concrete matters, for example actual social and public policies in the UK, acts of terrorism, climatic change, social movement activity or the work of the United Nations. By the end of this module students will have a better understanding of some of the most important social & cultural changes of our time and how these have influenced competing understandings of citizenship.

Learning outcomes
In terms of academic knowledge this module aims:
- to furnish students with knowledge and understanding of a range of (often competing) theories of citizenship and of how these theories have developed over time
- to equip students with a broader understanding of how a range of sociological concepts intersect with debates about citizenship
- to enhance students' awareness of the paradoxes surrounding and challenges to citizenship posed by the dual processes of globalisation and localism
- to provide students with an understanding of the concept of citizenship within policy discourses (in this case within immigration, social welfare and education policies in the UK)
In terms of intellectual/transferable skills this module aims to enhance students':
- capacity to engage critically with major theoretical perspectives
- capacity to assess competing theoretical positions
- ability to read, assess and represent sophisticated written evidence and argument
- ability to relate academic knowledge/theorising to everyday issues/concerns
- ability to undertake and present written work in a scholarly way
- ability to utilise, accurately and effectively, the formal and specialised language of sociology/social policy
- ability to communicate ideas effectively in alternative formats (in this case a poster) and verbally within informal and formal settings
- an ability to organise and manage self-directed projects, producing work in accordance with a given brief
- capacity to reflect upon their own learning experience and to assess the skills that have been or could be acquired for the future.

Skills outcomes
During the course of the module students will also have the opportunity to:-
- Engage critically with a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary viewpoints of citizenship
- Develop a greater awareness of contemporary sociological theorising and how this relates to everyday issues/concerns
- Further their skills in assessing competing theoretical positions
- Develop their abilities to read, assess and represent sophisticated written evidence and argument as part of research/preparation for their summative essay and to undertake and present their own written work in a scholarly way
- Further their understanding of how to utilise, accurately and effectively, the formal and specialised language of sociology/social policy
- Experience a range of teaching and learning methods
- Enhance their oral communication and presentation skills
- Engage in group work and enhance interpersonal communication
- Develop IT Skills
- Enhance their skills in organising and managing self-directed projects and producing work in accordance with a given brief.


Week 1 Introduction to the Module - the return of 'the citizen' to social science debates
Week 2 Theories of Citizenship 1: from ancient to modern accounts
Week 3 Theories of Citizenship 2: contemporary accounts
Week 4 Citizenship, Social Rights and the Welfare State: exploring the legacy of T.H. Marshall
Week 5 Citizenship, gender and sexuality
Week 6 Multicultural citizenship: competing definitions & challenges post 9/11
Week 7 Reflexive accounts of citizenship - the prospects for radical democracy
Week 8 Citizenship in a 'risk' society
Week 9 Citizenship in a time of paradox and challenge - the impact of globalisation and localism
Week 10 Citizenship education in the UK - making the 'model' citizen?
Week 11 Round-up and revision lecture

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

Students will be expected to undertake reading for each seminar and to prepare notes or mind-maps for each session. They will also be encouraged to read a good quality newspaper each week, or look at news items on the internet and to bring to each seminar any articles/items that relate to the topic under consideration e.g. stories about protests, inequalities, human rights issues, ecological disasters etc.
They will also be required to undertake coursework. Coursework has been designed to encourage students to 'read around' literature from across the module (thereby gaining breadth of knowledge) AND to investigate/research in greater depth into an issue that interests them the most (thereby gaining depth of knowledge). They will be reminded during the module how to use a variety of search engines in order to extend their literature search beyond the module reading list and discussion will be made about how to assess the quality of material found in this way.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored through seminar performance and formally assessed via a summative essay and poster presentation.

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
EssayOne 4,000 word summative essay60.00
Poster PresentationStudents will be asked to produce a poster (90cm x 120cm) on one of the topics covered by the module and to present this as if at a conference (i.e. they will display their poster and will be asked to respond verbally to questions about their work). Students will be required to produce their posters in electronic format and to submit electronic versions of their poster on disk in addition to a hard copy.30.00
Tutorial PerformanceStudents will be assessed on the basis of seminar attendance and performance with regard to seminar tasks/discussions. They will be required to submit their seminar notes at the end of each seminar. Students will not be required to undertake resits of individual components of this module and will only be required to resit this module if they have received a fail grade overall. In such an event, they will be required to sit one 3 hour examination that will represent 100% of their grade. They will be required to answer 3 questions during this examination. There will be one compulsory question requiring breadth of knowledge from across the module and a choice of additional questions, one for each topic considered during the module.10.00
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: 27/03/2008


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