Search
Search type

School of Social Sciences

Student in a lecture
BSocSc Sociology
Learn to critically analyse and interpret societies and gain skills for a variety of careers.

BSocSc Sociology

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Changing Social Attitudes

Unit code SOCY30092
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Sociology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

The unit aims to

  1. Critically examine the development of social attitudes in the UK since the 1980s;
  2. Contextualise trends in social attitudes within wider political, economic and cultural developments;
  3. Use empirical data from the British Social Attitudes Survey  and qualitative studies to critically assess sociological debates about the changing nature of society;

Critically evaluate how data on social attitudes are produced, analysed and presented. 

Aims

The unit aims to

  1. Critically examine the development of social attitudes in the UK since the 1980s;
  2. Contextualise trends in social attitudes within wider political, economic and cultural developments;
  3. Use empirical data from the British Social Attitudes Survey  and qualitative studies to critically assess sociological debates about the changing nature of society;

Critically evaluate how data on social attitudes are produced, analysed and presented. 

Learning outcomes

Student should be able to:

 

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key concepts in relation to changing social attitudes
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding the main sociological theories and the causes and consequences of social change.
  • Develop the ability to critically evaluate sociological theories of and the impact of global and local contexts on changes in social attitudes in the UK since the 1980s.
  • Critically assess and present qualitative and quantitative data on social attitudes
  • To synthesise, summarise and critically evaluate information from a range of sources including academic and grey literature in order to produce assessed coursework. 
  • Give and receive feedback in a constructive manner

Syllabus

Since the 1980s the UK has undergone a series of changes. The proportion of people employed in manufacturing has declined as industries such as new media have emerged and grown. There has been a communications revolution. Thirty years ago only the very rich owned mobile phones and no-one really had access to the internet. Today that has all changed as people, from politicians to ordinary people, now communicate through a whole host of means, such as Facebook and Twitter. The economy has become more globalised and society has become more diverse, new products, foods and music come in from all over the world The UK is experiencing a demographic change too. Half of those who are born today can expect to live to 100 years old. All of these changes have impacted on how people see themselves and the society in which they live.

This exciting and innovative module will bring together sociological theory, empirical data, quantitative and qualitative research methods to look at trends in social attitudes in Britain over the past 30 years. Students will draw on a wide range of learning materials, sociological theories, high quality secondary data as well as collecting their own data to interpret, contextualise and analyse trends in British social attitudes over the past 3 decades. Each week we will discuss a different issue, such as attitudes to ethnicity, social class or the Internet, and look at how attitudes have developed over time. Weekly sessions will i) describe trends over time (using British Social Attitudes Survey data and findings from relevant qualitative studies); ii) contextualise these trends within wider social change; and iii) introduce relevant sociological theories. Indicative content would include Changing Britain, changing attitudes; The incomplete revolution. Attitudes to gender roles in the UK; A classless society? Class identification and attitudes to social class in Britain; Multicultural Britain? Attitudes to ethnic groups and immigration; ’There is no such thing as society’. Changing attitudes to welfare in Britain; The fall and rise of religion in the UK since the 1980s. 

Teaching and learning methods

The unit will delivered through a weekly three hour long session which will include a lecture component, classroom discussion of key texts, small group activities, plenary feedback sessions and debates.  Key texts will, where appropriate, be made available on Blackboard, as will links to a range of other useful resources such as videos and podcasts. 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Feedback methods

Informal feedback will b given during lecture. In addition formal feedback will be given on the assessed essay.

Recommended reading

Marr, A. (2009). A History of Modern Britain. Pan: London.

McSmith , A. (2011). No Such Thing as Society: A History of Britain in the 1980s. Constable and Robinson: London

Pakulski, J and Waters, M. (1995). The Death of Class. Sage: London.

Beck, U. (1992). Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. Sage: London.

Beck, U and Beck-Gernsheim, E. (2001). Individualization: Institutionalized Individualism and its Social and Political Consequences. Sage: London.

Goldthorpe JH. (1980). Social Mobility and Class Structure in Modern Britain. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Dorling, D. (2011) Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persists. Policy Press: Bristol

Modood, T. (2007). Multiculturalism. Policy Press: Oxford

Lentin, A and Titley, G. (2011). The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a Neoliberal Age. Zed Books Ltd: New York

Park A, Bryson C, Clery C, Curtice J and Phillips M. (2013). British Social Attitudes: the 30th Report. NatCen: London

Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain [DVD] [2007]

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Martin Hyde Unit coordinator

Return to course details