SOC-10009 - Social inequalities in the contemporary world
Coordinator: Ranji Devadason Tel: +44 1782 7 34901
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This module explores social inequalities in both a British and global context. The module focuses on major social inequalities including class, ethnicity, gender and age, and considers how these categories shape societies and the life chances of individuals. The module encourages students to consider sociological accounts of the existence and the persistence of social inequalities and to challenge common-sense and individualised explanations by engaging with empirical evidence.
The lectures will focus on:
How can we understand society?
Global inequalities
Perspectives on wealth, poverty and class
Labour market inequalities
Gender and sexualities
Ethnic identities, 'race' and faith
Migration and asylum
Health and disabilities
Inequalities across the life course
Can we overcome inequality?

To enable students to consider the forms of stratification of social life in contemporary societies
To enable students to consider the role of gender, ethnicity, social class, and age in shaping our life chances
To introduce students to sociological explanations for inequalities which challenge individualist and common-sense understandings

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Express knowledge of the diversity of types of social inequality in the contemporary world: 1,2
Demonstrate an appreciation of the social origins of inequalities: 1,2
Show knowledge of the ways that policy decisions impact upon social inequalities through reference to contemporary examples: 1,2
Show an understanding of the diverse scalings of social inequalities: 1,2
Demonstrate an appreciation of the individualized and culturally specific explanations for major disparities in life chances from a sociological perspective: 1,2
Show evidence of reflection on own learning and the ability to conform to academic conventions: 1,2
Demonstrate ability to use research tools, such as the library catalogue, to inform independent learning: 1,2
Demonstrate the ability to interpret quantative data representing patterns of social inequalities, and compare these to findings of qualitative research to develop an understanding of the contribution of different methodological approaches to sociological research: 1,2

Study hours

Active learning hours:
22 contact hours - 11 lectures and 11 tutorials
44 asynchronous learning hours - key readings, note-taking, seminar preparation, video content, exploring data sources and contributing to online class discussions (e.g. padlet)
Independent study hours:
84 hours assessment preparation (includes engaging with additional readings)

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Portfolio weighted 40%
Study Skills Portfolio
Portfolio that comprises: (i) a 400-word summary of a key reading; (ii) a 400-word interpretation of quantitative data about contemporary inequalitites; (iii) library search - a five-item bibliography of academic sources - using Harvard referencing - for a specific essay question.

2: Essay weighted 60%
1250 word FINAL essay
A 1250-word essay that assesses students knowledge and understanding about social inequality in the contemporary world through a focus of a specific aspect of inequality. Students will be given 8-10 essay questions to select from.